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Lafayette and East Bay Child Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer represents bicycle accident victims throughout Lafayette and the East Bay. While everyone enjoys riding their bike in the area, none are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries than children. This can be even more challenging because you’re not directly involved but still face significant implications for your family. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your and your child’s legal options.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

When your child is hurt in an accident, you must be involved in the legal process. Whether you need a lawyer depends on how serious the accident is–and how hurt your child is. Minor accidents or injuries might not require legal action, but having my team on your side can be really helpful. Here’s how we approach these cases:

  • We explain your child’s legal options and rights.
  • We investigate the accident thoroughly to determine fault.
  • We gather evidence such as photos and medical records.
  • We interview witnesses and experts for useful information.
  • We lead negotiations with insurance companies and the other party’s lawyers.

Our goal is to get fair financial support for your child’s injuries and make the process easier for you. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs.

How is the Legal Process Different in a Child Bicycle Accident?

While it’s unfortunate and often more severe when a child is involved in a bicycle accident, it’s important to remember that you still have legal options. The circumstances differ when a child is involved. Generally, a child on a bike is viewed the same as anyone else, so if a driver or someone else causes an accident, you or another responsible adult can file a claim on behalf of your child.

From there, the legal process unfolds in much the same way as any other accident. You can get it started by either:

  • Filing an insurance claim out of court
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

However, another major difference involves the actual damages that are available in the claim. Basically, it’s not only your child’s immediate injuries and other losses that are factored in, but their future needs as well. While it can be more difficult–or even impossible at the current time–to place a value on these losses, there’s still a few general categories of damages in these types of claims:

  • Medical expenses, covering past, current, and future medical costs.
  • Lost earning potential for any loss of potential future income.
  • Property damage, including repair or replacement costs for damaged personal items.
  • Out of pocket expenses, covering costs like transportation and prescriptions.
  • Pain and suffering, covering the physical and mental anguish you and your child go through
  • Emotional distress, covering the anxiety, depression, or PTSD resulting from the accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, dealing with a reduced ability to enjoy activities.
  • Loss of companionship, addressing any strain on family relationships.

In California, there’s a two-year statute of limitations for injury claims, but it begins when your child turns 18. You have until then to file, and after reaching 18 years old, you have an additional two years to bring the legal action. Even with this increased time, you don’t want to wait because you still have to tie the injuries to the actual accident. This makes the steps you take right after the accident very important.

How Can You Protect Your Child’s Claim?

You obviously never want your child to get hurt in a bicycle accident. The trauma of this situation can be significant, and while your child is resilient, witnessing them get hurt is nonetheless distressing. Still, you need to take certain steps to protect your child’s claim:

  • Check on your child – Evaluate the seriousness of the accident and check your child for injuries. Stay calm to reassure them and keep them calm. Stay with them until paramedics arrive.

  • Move them to safety – If the accident happened in a hazardous location, like a busy street, move your child to safety if possible. Don’t move them if they’re seriously injured unless there’s immediate danger.

  • Get medical care – If your child is injured or you’re unsure of their condition, call 911 immediately. Provide clear details of the accident and follow instructions. If trained, give them first aid while waiting for medical help. Then, when an ambulance arrives, let them take over.

  • Call the police – If there’s injuries and other damage, make sure to call the Lafayette Police Department (LPD). They’ll manage the scene and can even help you gather information.

  • Gather as much information as you can – Take photos of injuries and damage, as this will be crucial for your child’s claim. Also, try to see what caused the accident and document that. You’ll also want to try to get insurance information from anyone involved, and contact information from any witnesses.

During such incidents, your own well-being is important too. Once you’ve addressed your child’s injuries, you can turn to my team for further guidance. One of the first things we’ll help you with is figuring out responsibility.

Who’s Liable in a Child Bicycle Accident?

When a child is involved in a bicycle accident in Lafayette, it raises questions about who is responsible. The person who was careless or not careful enough is usually to blame for the accident. For drivers, this means they can be at fault if they:

  • Drive faster than the speed limit.
  • Drive too fast for the weather conditions.
  • Fail to yield the right of way to others.
  • Ignore traffic signs or break traffic rules.
  • Drive recklessly and dangerously.
  • Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Fail to pay attention while driving.

But it’s not just drivers who can be responsible. Many of the other parties that are typically responsible in a bicycle accident can be liable when a child is involved. Usually, this includes:

  • Other drivers
  • Other bicyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Bike makers
  • Caltrans or local government agencies

Furthermore, you can share some of the liability because it’s on you to properly supervise your child. Legally, this is known as “comparative negligence,” where the injured person’s own fault is considered when determining financial support from a claim. When a child is injured, the adult responsible for them at the time of the accident shares some of the responsibility.

Can You Keep Your Child Safe While on a Bike?

Unfortunately, you can’t totally avoid a bicycle accident in certain situations. Worse yet, when a child is involved, there’s often an even bigger risk of an accident because they don’t always understand the situation. Even still, there are a few ways you can reduce the chances that your child will be in a bike accident and keep them safe:

  • Make sure your child wears a properly fitting helmet every time they ride, stressing its importance.
  • Provide a bike that suits your child’s age, size, and skill level for better control and safety.
  • Teach your child road rules and safe riding practices, including hand signals and awareness of surroundings.
  • Regularly check your child’s bike for safety, including tires, brakes, and gears.
  • Increase visibility with reflectors, lights, and bright clothing, especially in low light conditions.
  • Supervise young children until they can ride safely alone, teaching them safe practices.
  • Choose safe routes with fewer cars, bike lanes, and avoid busy intersections.
  • Teach effective signaling to drivers and cyclists, emphasizing communication and confidence.
  • Set a good example by following cycling rules and wearing protective gear yourself.

Despite these precautions, accidents can still occur. If your child is involved, knowing your options is crucial for handling potential injuries and damages effectively. That’s where you can turn to my firm for help.

Contact Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer After a Child Bicycle Accident in Lafayette or the East Bay

When your child is involved in a bicycle accident in Lafayette or the East Bay, going through the legal process requires experienced guidance. My firm, Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer, offers the expertise needed to support you and your child through this challenging time. Don’t wait–contact us today to set up a free consultation.