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What to Do If Your Child Was Injured in a Bicycle Crash

February 1, 2024

Drivers in Seattle and throughout Washington must share the roadway with bicyclists, including children. A driver’s general duty of care compels them to take all reasonable measures to prevent causing injury to others. When driving in school zones, near parks, and through residential neighborhoods, drivers must exercise proper precautions and remain vigilant to the presence of children, including children riding bikes. Sadly, children suffer injuries in bicycle accidents every day, including devastating accidents caused by negligent drivers. Distracted driving, speeding, and failure to follow the rules of right-of-way all contribute to bicycle accidents involving children.

If your child suffers injuries in a bicycle accident caused by a driver who failed to drive the way a reasonable person would have in the presence of children, then it’s important to know what steps to take immediately to protect your child’s physical safety and to protect your family financially.

What to Do If Your Child Was Injured in a Bicycle Crash

What to Do at the Scene After a Bicycle Accident With a Child

For a parent, there is nothing more terrifying than their child suffering a serious injury. When a motor vehicle and a small, exposed child on a bicycle collide, the child is vulnerable to serious or even grave injuries. As a terrified parent, you may feel too overwhelmed with fear and emotion to think clearly, but keeping a cool head is critical in this type of emergency. At the scene of a child’s bicycle accident, do the following:

  • First, use your judgment to decide if it’s safe to move your child. If the child has a possible neck or back injury, it’s best to create a barrier around them rather than moving them. Otherwise, gently move your child out of the street to prevent further injury from traffic
  • Provide comfort and reasonable first-aid to any obvious injuries to the child
  • Call 911 to report the accident or ask a companion or bystander to do so
  • Don’t move the child’s bike
  • Use your cell phone’s camera to take photos of the scene, or ask a companion or bystander to do so for you
  • Photograph the damaged bicycle and its placement 
  • Take photos of the vehicle that hit your child, including any visible damage
  • Take photos of the accident scene, including anything relevant like a traffic signal, signs, or an intersection
  • Add the contact information of the driver
  • Add the contact information of any eyewitnesses to the accident

Always allow emergency services to transport your child straight to the hospital after a serious bicycle accident.

What to Do During the Days Following a Child’s Bicycle Accident

Once your child is at the hospital, ask the providers to perform a thorough medical examination as well as treat the obvious injuries. It’s critical to catch all injuries as early as possible, including those that don’t always show symptoms immediately, especially during the rush of adrenaline after an accident.

Ask the doctor for a detailed medical report listing your child’s injuries, the doctor’s recommendations for treatment, and your child’s prognosis. Carefully follow the doctor’s instructions and keep copies of all medical bills and receipts for related expenses. Then, call an experienced bicycle accident attorney in Seattle before speaking to the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

Is a Child Ever at Fault in a Bicycle Accident in Washington?

Even in comparative negligence insurance states, young children are not held to the same standards of reasonable care as adults. Children under age six are never negligent in an accident. Children over age six may only be held to a standard of care that’s similar to another child of the same age. In some bicycle accident cases in Washington, deciding whether or not a driver is negligent or a child shares fault in an accident comes down to a jury’s decision, but often these cases are resolved through a settlement and don’t require a court case.

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