Is the Driver Always at Fault if a Child Runs Out in the Street in Front of Them?

As a parent, the last thing you want to imagine is your child being involved in an accident with a vehicle. Unfortunately, unintentional pedestrian accidents are the fifth leading cause of injury-related deaths among children between the ages of 5 and 19. Children are more likely to be injured in a pedestrian accident than in a car crash.

Special Cases for Child-Related Pedestrian Accidents

Since children don’t have the same awareness as adults in roadside situations, they can’t be held to the same standards. Missouri drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care to operate their vehicles responsibly in locations where children are known or likely to be, such as near playgrounds or schools.

Failing to fulfill this duty typically points to driver negligence, which holds them accountable if an accident occurs.

However, negligence can be challenging to prove. If the driver acted responsibly but couldn’t stop in time to avoid impact, they may not be deemed fully responsible. If your child has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley. We can help determine the liable parties to get you the compensation you deserve.

Missouri Negligence Laws

In any pedestrian accident, liability is one of the primary legal issues to address. Determining liability involves proving whether the driver or pedestrian was negligent.

The person held accountable is typically responsible for paying damages to the injured parties. Negligence is a standard legal procedure that involves five essential elements of proof:

  1. The driver owed a legal responsibility to avoid injuring the child (duty of care).
  2. The driver breached their legal responsibility.
  3. The breach of care caused the accident.
  4. The breach of care (actions or inactions) was the cause of your child’s injuries.
  5. Your child suffered actual damages, which require financial compensation, such as medical bills or pain and suffering.

Exceptions for Young Children

Like drivers, pedestrians also owe a duty of care to other road users and must obey traffic laws and use common sense along the roadside. This means pedestrians can be held accountable for a pedestrian accidents. However, this principle relies on the idea that the pedestrian is capable of acting as a reasonable person.

Young children are not held to these same standards. They are seen as a special group incapable of conducting themselves in the same way as adults. While a child’s age, experience, and intelligence must be considered, children are usually deemed immune to negligence in pedestrian accidents.

Therefore, if a child runs out in front of a car in a residential neighborhood, the driver is expected to anticipate such behavior and act accordingly to prevent an accident. If your child is injured in a pedestrian accident, they are entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Building a strong case with an experienced attorney is essential to ensure your child recovers full damages, particularly if they suffer injuries that require long-term rehabilitation.

Cases Where the Driver Is Not Considered Negligent

Sometimes, a driver may not be at fault for a pedestrian accident with a child. One of the determining factors in such a case is the location of the incident.

To fulfill their duty of care, drivers must be extra vigilant in areas where children are likely to be, such as residential neighborhoods, areas near schools or parks, inside city limits, or along public-transport routes. Drivers should be prepared to stop suddenly in these areas, anticipating that children may run onto the road.

However, if the driver was driving responsibly in an area where children are not reasonably expected, the driver may not be deemed negligent. They must be able to prove that they were traveling at a safe speed without distractions while sober and obeying all traffic laws.

How Cofman Townsley Can Help

At Cofman Townsley, we understand the devastating impact an accident involving a child can have on a family. When you hire our skilled attorneys to handle your case, we take care of the paperwork, insurance negotiations, and claims process to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

We build compelling, evidence-based claims by collecting information from the crash scene, witness statements, and police reports. Although we are confident in securing a settlement, we are ready to represent your family if the case goes to trial. Submit a free consultation form today, and we’ll contact you to arrange a meeting.