Bicycle Accidents Involving Children
Riding a bicycle is a fun recreational activity that can also save gas, keep people physically active, and help the environment. Riding bikes is particularly popular among children in the United States, and finally learning to ride without training wheels is a rite of passage for most kids. Many children will spend their summer days and nights zooming around their neighborhoods on bicycles, while others ride to and from school and other extracurricular activities almost every day. Bicycle riding among children is enjoyable and practical, and can save time and money for families.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 60% of bicycle accident victims who require emergency medical treatment are children. Furthermore, Florida reported the most bicycle accidents of any state with 4,774 accidents involving bicycles occurring in just one year. What this means is that Florida children are at a relatively high risk of injury due to bicycle accidents. Many of these accidents are caused by another person's negligent or careless behavior, especially motor vehicle drivers. If your child is in a bicycle accident due to negligent driving, the Miami attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA are here to help you hold that driver responsible.Common Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries
Though a child's injuries can vary widely depending on the exact circumstances of an accident, there are several injuries that are commonly suffered by bicycle riders. These injuries include:
- Multiple bone breaks and fractures
- Serious head trauma and wounds
- Spinal cord injuries including paralysis
- Damage to internal organs
Even if a child survives a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle, his or her injuries could be serious enough to significantly impact their lives. Children could require extensive medical treatment, including extended hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and doctors' visits for months or even years. The medical expenses can add up over time to an astronomical amount, and the CDC reports that the overall cost of bicycle injuries in the United States is over $4 billion each and every year. Unexpected medical bills can devastate a family financially, and if the child is permanently disabled, he or she may never be able to earn a living and the financial implications may be long-lasting.Responsibilities and Rights of Bicyclists
Because of the risk of serious injuries, it is important to always teach children bicycle safety and supervise them when they ride their bikes if they are too young to follow the safety rules. Florida statute requires that any bicycle ridden during the hours between sunset and sunrise have a lamp on the front and a lamp and reflector on the back. These lamps and reflectors may be on the bicycle or affixed to the riders themselves. Additionally, Florida requires by law that every bicycle rider under the age of sixteen wear a helmet at all times. The helmet must be fit properly and fasten securely. Riders must also follow the same traffic signals and laws as motor vehicles.
When a child is in a bicycle accident, it is important to determine what or who caused the accident to know who can be held liable. Depending on the type of accident, potential parties you can sue include:
- Negligent drivers of cars, trucks, buses or other motor vehicles
- The city, county, or state who has failed to properly maintain roads and causes a dangerous condition in the roadway
- Negligent bicycle or automobile manufacturers or retailers if the accident was caused by a defective part on either the bike or motor vehicle
- Owners of property if the accident was caused by a dangerous condition on that property, whether public or private
- Negligent repair shops if they failed to properly repair a bicycle, causing an accident
As you can see, there are many determinations to make before you bring a lawsuit for your child's injuries in a bicycle accident. You need to first decide who you can sue, but also must find out whether your child was also at fault in any way. If the accident was caused partially because of your child's actions, your recovery may be limited somewhat, but not necessarily barred completely. Our Miami attorneys have extensive experience in accident cases of all kinds, and know how to make these determinations and present your case in a way that ensures you receive a fair settlement. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA, we are board certified trial attorneys who are dedicated to helping you and your child recover. Call us at (877) 475-2905 or contact us by email to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced accident lawyer today.