A child bicycle accident might happen like this: Your 11-year-old son was riding his brand new bicycle to the convenience store one Saturday afternoon to buy a soft drink and a candy bar. Being the child that he was, he didn't judge the traffic appropriately before crossing the road, and a motorist clipped the back wheel of his bicycle sending him flying.
Fortunately, your son only broke his arm and he'll soon recover, but the emergency room bills and ambulance ride are going to cost you thousands of dollars.
Whose fault was the accident, and who's going to pay for it?
Driver liability in child bicycle crashes
If you son was a grown man, and he misjudged the timing of traffic while crossing the road, it's likely that an Illinois court would lay the fault of the accident on him. However, when it comes to a child bicycle accident, the standards are different.
Whenever children are present on the road, automobile drivers must adhere to a higher standard of care. Because children often behave erratically and unpredictably, drivers must take extra precautions. In a personal injury claim, Illinois courts may view a driver's failure to be extra careful around children as negligence or inattentiveness.
Determining whether negligence occurred
The notion of "negligence" is the pivotal issue in any child bicycle accident claim. If the plaintiff in the cases can successfully prove that the driver should have reasonably known to exercise increased care given the circumstances, then the plaintiff will prevail in the lawsuit. For example, when most reasonable drivers see children present -- or when a driver is in a school, neighborhood or park -- he or she needs to take care not to cause injury to the child.
Drivers will not be presumed negligent in every child bicycle claim. However, courts will subject drivers to an increased duty of care.
Seek legal help with your child bicycle accident case
Do you need help evaluating whether your child may have a viable personal injury claim relating to a bicycle crash? A personal injury lawyer can evaluate the facts surrounding the accident and advise you whether a civil lawsuit is warranted.