Fatal auto accidents can happen in a split second and can have devastating consequences on a family and community, especially when the victim is a child. A serious car accident involving a child can leave the accident victim and his or her family wondering just what went wrong. Where children are likely to be present, drivers must use increased care.
San Jose residents are mourning the tragic death of a child hit while riding a "pocket bike." The boy, age eight, was attempting to make a turn onto a busy road while riding his miniature electric motorcycle when he was struck by a pick-up truck. Riding pocket bikes is illegal on streets, sidewalks and parking lots, and at the time of the accident, the boy was not wearing a helmet.
Area residents agree that the accident calls for increased safety measures, such as speed bumps. Neighbors noted that the serious car accident could also have occurred if the boy had been chasing a ball in the street or riding a skateboard.
Where children are likely to be present, drivers must use a greater amount of care than may be otherwise required. For instance, if a driver is using a busy street lined with homes, a playground or a school, the driver should expect that children are probably present and must have increased awareness that a child could run into the street while playing.
While striking a child with a car may not automatically result in personal injury liability on the part of a driver, if a driver failed to exercise proper care in the situation, he or she could be determined to be at fault. In California, courts also consider whether a victim failed to use the appropriate level of care in these kinds of cases. An accident victim's award of damages may be reduced in proportion to a victim's degree of fault.
Source: Mercury News, "Neighborhood shrine for San Jose boy killed riding his 'pocket bike'," Joe Rodriguez, Sept. 16, 2012
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