Child Bike Accidents in San Antonio
Learning to ride a bike is one of the earliest milestones that children remember when they become adults—cruising through the neighborhood with the breeze blowing and not a care in the world. Further, riding a bike is great exercise for kids who are inundated with screen time in a country that has a growing childhood obesity problem. Yet, with all the joy and benefits of bike riding, children and adolescents have the highest rate of bicycle crash injuries, making up more than one-third of all bicycle injuries seen in emergency departments across the nation.
If your child or teen spends a lot of time biking, you need to continually reinforce the traffic rules, make them wear a helmet, and remind them to be aware of their surroundings. In the case of a crash, they need to go to the doctor immediately. If you child has sustained an injury while biking because of negligence, you need to call an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. If you live in the Greater San Antonio area, contact the skilled child bike accident lawyers at The Law Offices of George Salinas at (210) 225-0909.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Happen When a Child Has a Bicycle Accident?
A bicycle accident may lead to a wide variety of injuries depending on the situation; however, children have a higher risk for greater injuries. Their light body weight and small frames make it easier for them to be thrown from their bike and sustain more severe injuries. Some of the most common injuries that a child may suffer in a bike accident include:
- Head traumas, including traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones and skull fractures
- Dislocated joints
- Lacerations, bruises, scrapes, road rash
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
Who Can Be at Fault?
Establishing fault when there is an accident is often a challenge for the court, especially when a motor vehicle is involved, but adding a child to the mix increases the challenge. Many different scenarios may give rise to a biking accident, each with different parties that may hold some liability.
- Motor vehicle drivers are by far those that are most often at fault in child bike accidents. As adults, drivers are held to a higher standard of care on the road when children are present. Think of the reduced speed limits around schools as the obvious example. Similarly, children are held to a lower standard in regard to how careful they ride their bikes. This does not automatically make an adult driver negligent in a child bike accident, but it does mean that if the driver was not driving with increased caution around children, the court may find him or her negligent.
- Bicycle manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers may be at fault if the bike or a part on the bike is defective. In Texas, the court does not care about negligence in these cases, but rather needs proof that the bike was defective at the time of the accident, the bike's defect made it dangerous, and the bike's defect caused the accident. The same applies to defective bike helmets.
What Kind of Damages Might Be Recovered When a Child Sustains an Injury from a Bike Accident?
Here are some of the most commonly awarded damages that might be recovered from a child bike accident lawsuit:
- Medical expenses including ambulance rides, hospitalization, medication, doctor visits, x-rays and other scans, and physical therapy
- Rehabilitation and Recovery costs including long-term care when necessary
- Assistive device costs such as wheelchairs, a prosthetic, or computer software and hardware that helps a child communicate do daily tasks
- Lost wages of parent(s) due to caring for the child after an accident and lost wages for teens that have jobs and missed work
- Lost earning capacity—that is, the loss of future wages that your child may have earned were he not disabled—in severe cases where there is a permanent disability such as paralysis or brain damage
- Pain and suffering
In What Ways Do Those Liable Try to Escape Responsibility?
Those who are liable will often try to avoid paying their debt to victims. Insurance companies will deny claims and downplay your child's injuries. The defense will try to place blame on your child as a way to shirk responsibility. Although this will be difficult with young children, it may happen with teens. Texas uses a modified pure comparative negligence standard for personal injury cases. First, the court must determine negligence. In order for you to recover any damages, the liable party must be 51% at fault, so those liable will do everything possible to demonstrate that your or your child's negligence led to an accident. In defective bicycle cases, the 51% threshold does not apply. Texas is a strict liability state in terms of products liability law. The defense will try to prove that the bicycle (or helmet) was not defective, nor did it lead to the accident.
How Much Will a Bike Accident Lawyer Cost Me?
Most attorneys who handle child bike accidents offer free consultations for potential clients to discuss their cases. If a lawyer decides to represent you, the case will most likely be handled on a contingent fee basis. This means that you don't pay your attorney up front: attorney fees will be deducted from any settlement or judgment that you are awarded by the court.
Even when teaching your children about bike safety and making them wear a helmet, they may still end up in a bike accident that results in devastating injuries. If your child has sustained an injury from a biking accident, you need to contact an attorney that has experience with child bike accidents as soon as possible. Let a skilled lawyer deal with the details of a lawsuit, while you focus on helping your precious one recover. The Law Offices of George Salinas have a long track record of helping their clients get the best possible outcomes for their situation. For a free consultation in San Antonio, call (210) 225-0909.