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What Happens if Your Child is Hurt in a Car Accident?

Car Accidents with Children Can Be Difficult

Car accidents are stressful, regardless of who was at fault. But if your child happens to be with you when you are involved in a car wreck, it can make matters worse. The number one priority of any parent is undoubtedly to keep their children safe from harm, right? We do everything we can to protect them — from teaching them how to properly cross the street to keeping potentially dangerous toys out of reach.

But even the most protective of parents can’t prevent a car accident that wasn’t their fault. If the thought of your child being injured in a collision is frightening, you aren’t alone. Parents never want to think about their next of kin suffering an injury because of another driver’s negligence, but it happens far too often. Sadly, the most common cause of death [1] in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury from a car accident. From 2010 to 2014 alone, nearly 3,000 children in the U.S. died in car accidents nationwide, which is about 11 children every week. The majority of the children who died in car accidents were not wearing seatbelts, a preventable mistake that falls on parents and guardians.

Today we are going to take a closer look at what your rights are following a Dallas car wreck that leaves your child injured. We understand how stressful these types of cases are and will do everything we can to protect your child’s rights. If you were involved in a car accident that resulted in injury – or worse – to your child, please contact Shamieh Law today and schedule a free consultation.

Car Accidents by the Numbers

There are approximately 61 million children in the U.S., which is 19 percent of the population.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 3 percent [3] of all traffic fatalities in the United States are children. And while child motor vehicle traffic deaths have decreased since 1975, they still happen more often than anyone would like to think.

Here are a few additional statistics about car accidents, specifically those involving children, in the U.S.:

  • In 2017, 675 children under the age of 12 died in car accidents, and almost 116,000 suffered injuries [4]
  • 35 percent of children who died in car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children between 2 and 14 years old
  • From 1980 to 2016, the car accident death rate among teens (15 to 19) declined from 42 to 12 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Teens ages 17 and 18 are the highest risk group for car accident fatalities
  • Males are twice as likely to die from motor vehicle traffic accidents than females
  • 52 percent of children who are involved in fatal car accidents live in southern states [5]
  • 43 percent of children who died in car accidents were either improperly restrained or not wearing a seatbelt at all
  • 2016 saw the highest seatbelt use since 1994
  • 73 percent of child car accident deaths in 2018 were passengers [6]
    • 18 percent were pedestrians and 3 percent of were bicyclists, respectively
  • 13 percent of child car accidents deaths occurred in the front seat (2018), and 80 percent were in the backseat

Understanding Child Car Accident Injuries

Children can sustain a wide range of injuries as a result of a car accident. There are numerous factors that may contribute to the type and extent of the damage, including age, where the child was sitting, and whether or not they were wearing a seatbelt (a critical element, as seen by the above statistics). According to NHTSA, the following are the most common injuries suffered by children following a car accident:

  • Head injuries (concussions, lacerations, skull base fractures, and contusions)
  • Bone fractures
  • Thoracic injuries
  • Broken glass injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Loss of limb
  • Dental injuries
  • Psychological or mental injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Airbag injuries
  • Injuries from car seats
  • Chest injuries

Common Causes of Car Accidents Involving Children

We’ve learned that car accidents are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 12, but why do these collisions even occur? Many different factors may contribute to a car accident in Dallas, including driver distraction and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Similar to accidents that involve adults, it can be difficult to predict when something will go wrong.

Here’s a look at the most common causes of car accidents that cause injuries to children and teens:

  • Distracted driving (such as texting)
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving in inclement weather
  • Speeding
  • Failing to stop at a red light
  • Nighttime driving

My Child Was Injured in a Car Wreck: Now What?

Whenever our children ride in a car, there is a chance they will be injured in a car accident. This is true whether you are the driver or if they are taking the school bus or riding with friends, family, or a babysitter. In the event your child is injured in an accident, chances are you have questions about what to do next. It is important to note that children have the same legal rights as an adult who is involved in a car accident. However, because of their age, parents will typically bring the claim on their behalf. If a personal injury claim is filed, your child may be entitled to compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of wages (if they are old enough to work)
  • Mental anguish

Tips for protecting your child from injury

The following steps will help you protect your child from injury because of a Dallas car accident:

  • Adhere to the speed limit when children are in the car
  • Be extra attentive when traveling with children
  • Avoid driving late at night, if possible
  • Never drive tired or fatigued
  • Make sure your vehicle is safe

If your child was injured in a car accident, contact Shamieh Law today and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.

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