It is wonderful to live in a neighborhood where your child can walk to school. Studies have shown that nowadays, most children arrive at school on a bus or in privately driven cars. This trend has increased traffic congestion on the roads and has also caused an increase in air pollution levels. It has also contributed to the increasingly sedentary condition of children that leads to childhood obesity.
If your child can, encourage him or her to walk to school every day. It is a great way to get a burst of exercise. However, make sure you warn your children on the potential dangers they may encounter on the way. One of these dangers is the possibility that they will be struck by a car on the way to school. Many of these accidents happen right in the crosswalk of the school, some right in front of school personnel, such as crossing guards. A crossing guard who is either poorly trained or not doing their job properly could be the reason your child was injured. Or the school district may have failed to devote enough resources to ensuring your child’s safety. The driver of the car that hit your child in the crosswalk is also most likely at fault.
The best way to avoid school crosswalk accidents is to educate your children on crosswalk safety. However, even with the proper education, some school crosswalk accidents are inevitable. If your child is injured or even killed in a school crosswalk safety accident, the aftereffects are devastating. You will encounter steep medical bills, skipped work days and possibly a long and costly road to recovery for your child. Add to the mix the terrible emotional suffering of having a child who has been injured or killed. You may not be ready to consider the possibility of a lawsuit, but you should. Consult with an attorney experienced in school crosswalk accidents as soon as possible after the accident. The compassionate attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt can help you during this terrible time. We will determine which parties are at fault for your child’s injuries and move swiftly to seek the maximum compensation available under the law.
School Crosswalk Accidents Are Common in Alabama
In most parts of the country, including the State of Alabama, pedestrian accidents have become increasingly common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011, an estimated 69,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents. Of those pedestrians injured, 11,000 of them were age 14 and younger. Sixty-five percent or 7,000 of those 11,000 injured were males. Clearly, this shows an increased need to make pedestrian safety for children a priority.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, intersections are the areas where most traffic-related pedestrian accidents occur. Children who walk to school, some of them very young, encounter intersections daily, particularly the crosswalks that lead them directly to their school buildings. Of the hundreds of thousands of fatalities that have occurred over the past decade, nearly 23% of those fatalities took place at an intersection.
Drivers these days are particularly distracted. Many of the common causes of intersection accidents and fatalities occur distracted driver behavior. Types of distracted behavior include using electronic devices, eating, smoking or grooming while driving, and being in a rush to get somewhere. This behavior can cause a driver to run a red light or a stop sign. Distracted drivers also routinely drive over the speed limit and may fail to see a child in the crosswalk, or fail to yield to a child in a crosswalk.All of these driving errors are against the law. Oddly enough, accidents caused by distracted drivers account for more pedestrian fatalities than those caused by drivers who are drunk or under the influence of drugs.
The Injuries are Often Severe and Possibly Life Threatening
When a pedestrian gets hit by a car, the injuries are almost always serious. These injuries become magnified when the victim is a child with small, fragile bones. Some common injuries your child may incur in of a school crosswalk accident include:
- bruising, contusions and lacerations;
- concussions, blood clots and brain hemorrhages;
- torn or sprained ligaments;
- bone fractures;
- spinal cord injuries;
- internal injuries and bleeding; and
Teach Your Child Cross Walk Safety
In the presence of such known and uncontrollable dangers, it is up to parents and the schools to keep children safe in crosswalks. It is important to be proactive. The first step towards keeping your child safeis to teach your child how to navigate a crosswalk safely. The following are some important tips:
- Only cross in the crosswalk. Make sure your child knows to stay within the crosswalk. Teach him not to dart into the street, even if he is trying to join a group of friends who are doing so.
- Obey traffic signals. In the absence of a crossing guard, make sure your child obeys traffic signals even if there are no cars present in the intersection. This precaution will get your child into the habit of doing so. It will also prevent accidents caused by cars that speed into the intersection before your child can see them.
- Teach your child to look for oncoming cars. The old adage “left, right, left” is still the best method. The general rule is to look to the left, and then to the right, and then back to the left again before determining it is safe to cross the street.
- Wait for cars to stop. Teach your child to wait until the car makes a complete stop at an intersection before crossing. In a school intersection, your child always has the right of way. But even if the car looks like it is slowing down, your child can’t be sure the car will stop until it has done so. Encourage your child to make eye contact with the driver, to ensure the driver has seen your child in the crosswalk.
- Listen to school personnel or crossing guards. Hopefully, your school crosswalk is monitored by school personnel or crossing guards.Instruct your child to listen and pay attention to their directions. Children who walk in groups are often oblivious to the sound of an adult’s shouted warnings. However, listening can mean the difference between getting injured and arriving at school safely.
- Cross without distractions. Your child needs to give the crosswalk his full attention. Make sure he is not wearing headphones that could block out the noise of an oncoming car or truck. Headphones can also block out the warnings from an adult or fellow pedestrian that a car is approaching the intersection. Also tell your child not to talk on the phone while crossing as it can be very distracting.
Statute of Limitations
Like every state, the State of Alabama limits the time that you have in which to file a lawsuit for injuries. These time restrictions are contained in a law called the Statute of Limitations.Depending on what type of lawsuit you are filing, the time limit will vary. However, the time periods with which to bring certain lawsuits are often relatively short. People whose child has been injured in a school crosswalk accident and who plan to file a lawsuit for damages should consult a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. You don’t want a judge to tell you that you waited too long to bring your lawsuit and cannot recover for your child’s injuries.An attorney at Farris, Riley & Pitt with knowledge of the local Statute of Limitations, can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit as soon as possible, and help to avoid these problems.
Contact Us for Help
The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have been expertly handling personal injury cases, particularly school crosswalk accidents since our door opened in 1996. Our attorneys practice with the utmost care and compassion in these tough situations. We at Farris, Riley & Pitt know too well how much an accident can impact someone’s life, especially when a child is involved. Hospital bill, medical expenses, and lost wages can be financially devastating to a family. And life altering injuries affect not only the injured party, but that person’s family members and loved ones.
Let Alabama lawyers Farris, Riley& Pitt help you to pursue justice. For a free evaluation and to learn more about whether you have a claim in the event your child has been injured in a school crosswalk accident contact the attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt today. You can call us at 205-324-1212 or toll-free at 1-888-580-5176. You can reach our knowledgeable legal staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling our toll-free lawyer assistance line at 1-888-937-7534.