As summer winds down, millions of students will be starting school again. Many school-age children walk to school and doing so often provides students with their first experiences of freedom and responsibility.
While schools and school districts generally take steps to make walking to and from school a safe experience, the reality is that any time a person is a pedestrian, he or she is at risk for involvement in a pedestrian accident. This is particularly true with respect to young children who tend to be smaller and harder for drivers to see. In addition, children tend to engage in more impulsive and unpredictable activity, such as running or darting out into the street without warning.
When children are injured in pedestrian accidents on their way to school, their parents may be able to bring a legal action on their behalf to recover for their losses. To determine whether you may be to file a claim, please call our office today to set up a consultation with one of our Green Bay or Appleton pedestrian accident attorneys.
Investigating Child-Pedestrian Accidents
An attorney reviewing a case involving a child-pedestrian injured on his or her way to school will likely consider all of the following things:
Was the child walking within a school zone when he or she was injured?
If the child was in a school zone, the attorney will consider the duty of a driver to drive at an appropriate speed when children are present.
How old was the child when he or she was injured? Age matters! In Wisconsin, section 891.44 of the Wisconsin Statutes creates a “conclusive presumption” that a child who has not yet reached the age of 7 shall be incapable of contributory negligence or any negligence whatsoever.
If an injured child was seven years old or older at the time of an accident, in considering whether there could be contributory negligence on the part of the child, a jury will compare the child's actions to the actions of a “reasonable” child the same age.
Pedestrian Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries
Children who are struck by cars, trucks, or other motor vehicles can sustain extremely serious injuries that may affect them for years or even decades. In the most tragic circumstances, injuries sustained by a child who is struck by a car can be fatal. In other cases, a pedestrian accident can have a significant long-term impact on a child's ability to pursue his or her academic or professional goals later in life. Common kinds of injuries sustained by children who are involved in pedestrian accidents include the following:
Broken Bones – Broken bones are an extremely common injury in pedestrian accidents. They occur when an external force causes a break in the continuity of the bone. In a motor vehicle accident scenario, a broken bone can occur either from the initial impact or from a secondary impact with the ground or another vehicle or object.
Traumatic Brain Injuries – TBIs are serious injuries that affect the brain. They occur when a jolt or blow to the head causes a disruption in normal brain function. When injuries are serious, they can require intensive medical treatment, potentially including surgery. In addition, severe TBIs have the potential to leave victims with disabilities that can prevent them from working or living independently later in life.
Soft Tissue Injuries – Soft tissue injuries include bruises, lacerations, sprains, strains, and muscle tears. While usually treatable, these injuries can often be extremely painful, require extensive medical treatment, and often leave unsightly scarring that may have a significant impact on a person's emotional well-being.
Contact an Appleton Attorney Today
When children are involved in pedestrian accidents, the injuries that they can sustain are often extremely severe and result in significant losses. For this reason, it is important for parents of children who have been seriously hurt by the negligence of motorists to pursue legal compensation whenever possible. With offices in Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, and New London, the experienced Green Bay personal injury attorneys and Appleton personal injury attorneys of Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. are capable representing clients throughout the state of Wisconsin. To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 920-739-7366.