What to Do if Your Child is Hit by a Car While Riding Their Bike
Accidents involving children are a parent’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, children and young people have the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries. Almost one-third of injured cyclists treated in emergency departments are between the ages of 10 and 24.
Most fatal bike accidents happen in urban areas, with many occurring at intersections or high-speed segments of roadways. Other road users must exercise caution when driving through these areas. If your child suffers injuries caused by a negligent driver, consult with the St. Louis bicycle injury lawyers at Cofman Townsley to help you file a case on behalf of your child.
Drivers have a legal responsibility (“duty of care”) to pay careful attention to their surroundings in areas where children are likely to be present to ensure their safety and well-being. Missouri law requires all drivers to do everything possible to avoid colliding with pedestrians, honk their horns when necessary, and take caution when they see children on or near a roadway.
Missouri also recognizes pure comparative negligence in personal injury cases involving adults and children. This doctrine means that the injury victims can receive compensation regardless of their own degree of fault. In a comparative negligence case regarding an injured child, you must prove:
- The defendant owed your child a duty of care
- The defendant failed in their duty of care
- That failure caused the accident and subsequent injuries
- Your child suffered injuries or damages as a result of the accident
Building a strong, evidence-based case is essential to ensure your child receives the compensation they deserve after an injury-causing accident. If your child is involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, your first step should be to contact an attorney to help you file a claim on behalf of your child.
A bicycle accident lawyer from Cofman Townsley can guide you through the legal process. Your lawyer will collect evidence from the scene of the accident, such as statements from witnesses, photos and videos, and your child’s damaged bicycle. They can also gather your child’s medical bills and treatment plan to show their injuries’ severity.
Your attorney will use this evidence to send a demand letter to the negligent driver’s insurance company asking for a fair settlement amount. If the insurance company denies your claim, your lawyer will fight for your right to compensation with a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of your child.
In Missouri, minors cannot file a personal injury claim. Their parents or legal guardians must pursue a case on their behalf. If the child does not have a parent or legal guardian, a next friend or guardian ad litem appointed by a civil action can file the claim.
A parent or guardian is also responsible for the proceeds of a case settlement. However, the court has the final say on any settlement on behalf of the child.
One of the best ways to keep your children safe while bike riding is to instill safe habits. Teach your child these simple yet effective tips for riding a bike safely:
- Wear a helmet: Children should wear bicycle helmets whenever riding a bicycle. Helmets can prevent them from suffering head and facial injuries in an accident.
- Wear fluorescent or reflective clothing: If your child plans to ride their bicycles in the morning or late afternoon, encourage them to wear reflective clothing. This safety precaution helps drivers see them on the roads and sidewalks.
- Use front and back lights: Front and back lights are mandatory on all bicycles in Missouri. Bicyclists must use these when riding between dawn and dusk.
- Adhere to traffic lights and signs: Your child must follow all traffic lights and recognize signs by their shapes and colors when riding their bikes. They must also be aware of their surroundings and watch for oncoming cars.
- Use hand signals: You can also teach your child hand signals to use when they ride their bike to let other motor vehicle drivers know about their intentions. For example, if your child plans to make a right turn, they should extend their arm straight out.
If your child is involved in a bicycle accident, call the St. Louis child injury lawyers at Cofman Townsley immediately. We can help you collect evidence and build a solid claim, ensuring your child earns the compensation they deserve. In serving the Missouri community for over four decades, we have the experience and legal skills to navigate a successful personal injury claim.
We are available 24 hours a day, so don’t hesitate to call us. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation.