Pedestrian accidents involving children account for a significant portion of pedestrian injuries and fatalities each year. Children may not possess the same level of judgment and awareness as adults. As a result, there are special legal considerations in these cases to acknowledge childrens’ unique vulnerabilities and needs.
Drivers are held to a heightened duty of care in pedestrian accident cases involving children. This special duty places a greater responsibility on drivers to exercise caution and take extra precautions when children are present in areas where they are likely to be. Specifically, this heightened duty of care entails the following:
When a driver fails to exercise this heightened degree of care, pedestrian accident victims have the right to hold them liable for any injuries and related losses.
While children in Texas have the right to pursue compensation after a pedestrian accident, they must do so through a “next friend.” A next friend is an individual who brings a lawsuit on behalf of a minor or someone unable to represent themselves. This could be a parent, legal guardian, relative, family friend, or any responsible adult appointed by the court. The next friend is responsible for initiating and managing the legal proceedings.
Any settlement or judgment awarded in a pedestrian accident claim involving a child typically requires court approval. This is to ensure that the child’s best interests are protected and that the funds are used for the child’s benefit.
Generally, Texas places a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the injury in pedestrian accident cases. This means a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the injury, or the victim will lose out on pursuing compensation.
However, Texas law provides for a tolling (pausing) of the statute of limitations for minors in pedestrian accident cases involving minor children. In other words, the clock does not start running until the child reaches the age of 18.
While children are able to wait until they are 18 to pursue a claim themselves, it is generally not in their best interests. The longer the delay, the more evidence can disappear, and witnesses’ memories will fade, making it much harder to prove liability and the extent of the child’s injuries. Additionally, the tolling of the statute of limitations does not apply to damages the parents have suffered, for example, medical bills they are responsible for, lost income, etc.
If your child has been harmed in a pedestrian accident, contact Ramsey Law Group as soon as possible. Our Houston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer can help you advocate for your child and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.