Children and car accidents: Common causes of injury

What types of accidents injure children? Are there legal remedies?

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports unintentional injuries, such as those caused by car accidents, drowning and falls, are the leading cause of serious injury and death in children. The agency estimates these accidents result in the death of 12,000 children ranging in age from 0 to 19 every year. An additional 9.2 million children require emergency medical treatment for serious, nonfatal injuries.

Of these unintentional injuries, motor vehicle related accidents cause the largest number of fatalities. When it comes to nonfatal injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports common examples include head injuries like concussions, skull fractures, contusions and lacerations.

What types of motor vehicle accidents injure children?

Motor vehicle accidents that involve children include:

  • Backover. A backover accident typically occurs when a vehicle is backing out of a driveway or parking place. Due to a child's small size, the driver may not see the child and could roll the vehicle over the child. Parents can reduce the risk of this type of accident by encouraging children to move away from vehicles when occupied by a driver and avoid playing in driveways and parking lots.
  • Rollaway. Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. The child can inadvertently put the vehicle in gear and cause it to move. This can result in a serious accident.
  • Other accidents. Just like any other passenger in a motor vehicle, children can also be victims of injury or death from a rear-end collision, side impact accident or head-on collision.

Parents can help reduce the risk of injury by using an appropriate car seat for the child's age and size, getting the car seat inspected for proper installation at a local inspection station using certified inspectors and obeying traffic laws when the child is in the vehicle.

Although these tips can help keep children safe, accidents still happen.

Are legal remedies available when children are injured or killed in car accidents?

Victims may qualify for legal remedies if the accident is the fault of another driver. If the other driver failed to operate the vehicle with care and this failure contributed to the accident, that driver may bear liability for the crash. Victims of these crashes can hold drivers accountable through a personal injury lawsuit.

In addition to holding the driver responsible for the accident, this type of civil lawsuit can also result in monetary awards to help cover the costs that result from the accident. This is particularly important for claims involving children. A serious injury in childhood can translate to a lifetime need for medical devices and physical therapy. As a result, parents and loved ones with children who are injured in accidents are wise to seek legal counsel to better ensure they receive the funds they need to cover the costs of raising a child with an injury from a motor vehicle accident. An attorney experienced in these types of legal claims can review the incident and discuss your options.