Louisiana drivers must always exercise care in their actions, but this is especially true when they are sharing the roadway with children. Often times, drivers may be required to increase their care to avoid creating a dangerous situation that may lead to a collision.
A recent hit and run collision involving an SUV and a child on his bicycle resulted in injuries to the child. The driver fled the scene of the accident, while the child was launched into a nearby ditch as a result of the force of the collision. The ditch was filled with water and the child was having trouble breathing when witnesses went to assist him. The child sustained a sprained shoulder, as well as bruising and swelling, as a result of the accident. Authorities believe they have identified the make and model of the vehicle involved and have also obtained surveillance footage from a nearby resident that shows the vehicle in question.
Children are involved in the majority of car accidents involving bicycles. Liability for these collisions is based on negligence. Under negligence, an injured victim must show that multiple factors were present at the time of the collision. The first of which is that the defendant owed them a duty of care.
All drivers owe a duty of reasonable care in the operation of their vehicle. When drivers are operating their vehicles around children on bicycles, the driver's duty of care increases to a level known as unusual care, while children are held to a lower standard of care than adult bicyclists.
Children, age four and under, are not capable of being negligent. Therefore, drivers are unable to allege contributory negligence in such cases. If a child bicyclist is older than four, but younger than fourteen, they are presumed to have not been negligent, but a driver may put forth evidence that they should be held contributorily negligent under the circumstances.
Child bicyclists injured in a collision with a driver may be able to receive compensation for their injuries, depending on the circumstances. A personal injury attorney may assist with evaluating these circumstances to determine the appropriate level of compensation.
Source: WAFB 9, "Video of suspected hit-and-run driver, allegedly injured 7 yr. old bike rider," Samantha Morgan, July 4, 2014