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Your Rights in an Accident Caused by Children

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 5 May 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Traffic Accidents Police Lawyer Traffic

If you're involved in a traffic accident while transporting children, whether it involves pedestrians or another car - it can be a terrifying experience, involving police, lawyers, hospitals and a bucket load of guilt.

Considerations When Driving With Children in the Car

Everyone knows how traumatic it can be when you're driving with kids – especially young children. It’s difficult enough sometimes to concentrate on the finer intricacies of driving without having a little army of noisy, bouncy children to worry about too.

Even the best behaved kids can turn into monsters when they catch sight of a steering wheel and will refuse to sit down in their car seat or wear their seat belts and when you finally get them to concede they wait until you start driving and then unclip them when they think you’re not looking.

Add to this the constant noise and if there’s more than one, the shouting and fighting and you get to your destination feeling grumpy, stressed out and feeling like you've gone 3 rounds with Mike Tyson.

Of course this is all a little tongue-in-cheek – it’s just how it is when you have to drive kids about – but what happens if things get really serious, and you are so distracted by the children you are transporting that you end up involved in an accident with possibly devastating consequences.

If the accident was caused by your distraction, then you'd be at fault. You, as driver, are responsible for anyone who is travelling in your car and it's up to you to make sure that they are under control and that you keep your eyes on the road.

With that in mind, it’s really important to ensure that:

  • Any children travelling with you are strapped in with the appropriate restraint.
  • Any children who need a child seat or cushion have the appropriate size and use it.
  • Any children travelling with you don't remove their seatbelts or climb out of their seat or restraint.
  • Any children in your vehicle don't get overexcited and start bouncing around out of control ( this is by far the hardest of the four points to manage!!)

Bearing this in mind, If you travel with young children on a regular basis, then you might want to consider planning in advance and making sure that you don’t run into trouble or risk hurting yourself or your children. Some tried and tested tips to keep children entertained on their travels include:

  • Depending on the age of the children, invest in some CDs or cassette tapes that feature their favourite cartoon or television characters that you can get them to listen to. Buy a tape of some kid-friendly songs that you can get them to sing along to. Having an X-factor style competition between the kids in the car might be taxing on your ears but if it keeps them entertained and happy then it would be well worth it!
  • Get them playing a competitive game such as I-spy. Or get them to choose a different colour and compete with each other to count the most cars of that colour along the journey. Have a small treat such as lollipops for each child when they get out of the car and encourage them to be well-behaved on future journeys.

Accidents Involving Children as Pedestrians

If you are travelling and are involved in an accident that is caused by a child pedestrian– for example, a child running out in front of you without looking - what do you do?

  • First of all, you need to make sure that the child is ok and if not , that the emergency services are called so that they can attend to any injuries and deal with details such as finding the child’s parents.
  • Next, as soon as you can, look around and try to find someone who saw what happened. If someone who saw the incident is willing to say that the child didn't pay any heed to traffic safety warnings, and that you did everything you could to stop in time then get their contact details written down, preferably an address and mobile number. They could be the most important element of your defence if your actions are challenged and you are taken to court or have to face lawyers or an insurance hearing.
  • Make a written note of what happened and if possible, take photographs of the area where the incident happened including any parked cars or anything that obstructed your view leaving you unable to see the child.
  • Offer to give a statement to the police. Report the accident, even if the emergency services are not needed and tell the police exactly what happened while it is still fresh in your mind. If you got witness details, include these in your report and give the police the means to contact those who saw what happened.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@touchie. You need to follow this up with your insurance company. The chocolates and flowers may have been deemed as an indication of guilt too.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 11-May-15 @ 2:46 PM
on september 4th 2014 a child ran accross the road in front of my car emergency services came and I gave a statement to a policeman ,he told me to keep away from the childs mother who had turned up on the scene andhe would take statements from witnesses. I was travelling at about 20 miles per hour.the child had a scan the next day and everything was alright.i went to his home the next day and gave him and his mother some flowers and choc0lates.then last week my insurance renewal came double the price i,ve paid for the last two years.how can I have avoided hitting the child when he ran out.
TOUCHIE - 5-May-15 @ 1:54 PM
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