Philadelphia Child Injury Lawyers
The number of children injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents has steadily decreased in recent years, but car crashes remain a leading cause of accidental death for infants, children, and teens in Philadelphia and across the U.S. Traffic accidents threaten children’s lives while they drive and ride in motor vehicles, and while they bike, take a bus, or even just cross the street.
If your child suffered severe injuries or died tragically in a motor vehicle accident in Philadelphia caused by someone else’s reckless or careless actions, then you likely have legal rights to receive substantial compensation for your child’s injuries and your family’s losses. Contact the skilled Philadelphia child injury lawyers at The Levin Firm today for a free case consultation.
Our Law Practice
Founded in 2005, The Levin Firm represents Philadelphia residents, workers, and visitors who suffer injuries because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional misconduct. One of the most important areas of our practice involves advocating for injured children and their families. No parent should ever live through the horror of having a child get badly hurt in a preventable accident.
We work to make sure those children and their parents receive the compensation they need and deserve to put their lives back on track.
Click here to read what our past clients have to say about our firm’s commitment to them and to pursuing justice and fair compensation on their behalf.
Dangers to Young Children in Car Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 children under the age of 12 die each year as a result of motor vehicle-related accidents, and around 116,000 suffer injuries. Children make up around 3 percent of the fatalities in motor vehicle accidents nationally every year. Around 16 percent of child fatalities are the result of an alcohol impaired driver.
Seat belts and car seats serve a critical role in keeping children safe in motor vehicle crashes. 35 percent of the children killed in car accidents are not buckled-in at the time of the collision. Many more who suffer severe or fatal injuries were wearing belts or restraints, but using them incorrectly, which reduces effectiveness. Always make sure your children sit in seats and wear restraints that are appropriate for their height and weight. Click on the “Prevention” tab on the linked page above for more information.
Children also face risks when walking across or along Philadelphia streets. According to the CDC, pedestrian accidents account for around 20 percent of the traffic-related deaths of children under the age of 15. Many of these accidents occur in school-related situations, such as when drivers speed through school zones or fail to stop for school buses.
Other places where the risk of child pedestrian accidents runs high include areas around parks and playgrounds, neighborhoods where children may run out into the roadway while playing, and non-intersection areas on urban streets. Studies indicate that even though parents teach small children to look for traffic, children under the age of 10 have difficulty gauging when it is safe to cross, and need adult supervision to stay safe from harm.
If your young child suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident, as a passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian, contact The Levin Firm today for a free consultation.
School Bus Dangers
There are almost half a million school buses in service across the nation, providing transportation to and from school each day for around 25 million elementary and secondary-aged children. School bus-related crashes kill more than 100 people a year in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council.
Victims of these accidents include bus drivers and passengers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. While the majority of these deaths involve occupants of other vehicles, bus passengers account for around 5 percent of the fatalities in accidents involving school buses and around 36 percent of the injuries.
A particularly hazardous situation for children who ride the school bus is the presence of other cars when the child is getting on or off the bus. In Springfield Township, a seven-year-old girl was critically injured when she was struck by a car while getting off the bus. The child’s sister, who was also getting off the bus at that time, stated that the bus had come to a stop and the driver had engaged the flashing lights before the two girls stepped off the bus and attempted to cross the street. It was then that a driver of a black Honda failed to stop for the bus and struck the child. The bus was filled with children at the time of the accident.
There is no excuse for drivers who put children at risk around school buses. Contact the compassionate team of lawyers at The Levin Firm today if your child suffered injuries in a Philadelphia school bus-related accident.
Teen Driver Dangers
Motor vehicle accidents are also a major cause of death for people aged 15-20. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute, crashes result in the deaths of around 1,800 teen drivers each year nationally. Vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and bicyclists also suffer severe and fatal injuries in car crashes involving teen drivers.
By Children’s Hospital’s estimation, some of the biggest challenges facing teen drivers include:
- Lack of scanning. Research shows that teen drivers often fail to anticipate roadway hazards, which means that they also fail to take such precautions against those hazards, such as by monitoring their speed or positioning their vehicle appropriately. Research suggests this inability to scan for and recognize dangers has more to do with teens’ relative lack of development of that higher order cognitive skill than it does to teens simply not paying attention.
- Speeding. Driving faster than the posted speed limit or too fast for the conditions of the road is a major cause of accidents for drivers of all ages. Not only does speeding reduce the amount of time a driver has to perceive and respond to a roadway hazard, it also increases the distance needed for the car to come to a safe stop once the brakes are applied, increases the severity of the collision, and decreases the effectiveness of crash protection features such as seat belts or airbags. Speeding for teen drivers is often not a result of intentional risk-taking, but another matter of inexperience. Teens simply do not have enough hours behind the wheel to have developed a sense of what constitutes a safe speed in varied driving conditions.
- Distraction. Driver distractions are also a hazard to drivers of all ages, but they are particularly dangerous for inexperienced teen drivers. Texting, browsing social media, and visiting with peer passengers constitute the most prevalent distraction risks for teen drivers. Studies show that having two or more peer passengers in the vehicle with a teen driver triples the risk of the driver getting into a fatal accident.
The three hazards above, according to Children’s Hospital, merit special attention because they account for three-quarters of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Teens also face significant risks from other hazards, such as alcohol or drug impairment, and nighttime driving.
If your child suffered injuries in an accident involving a teen driver, contact The Levin Firm right away to learn about your rights.
Keeping Your Child Safe From Motor Vehicle Accidents
One of the greatest frustrations of a parent is knowing you cannot keep your child completely safe from harm. Still, you can take steps to reduce the odds of your child getting injured in a car accident.
These steps include:
- When purchasing a car that your child will drive or ride-in, let safety ratings guide your buying decision. Even used vehicles come with significant safety features these days. Favor the vehicle you can afford that has the best overall safety features.
- Model good driving behavior when your child is in the car. Avoid distractions such as texting and other cell phone use. Remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Long years before children reach driving age, they watch how their parents handle themselves behind the wheel, and will mimic those behaviors to some extent when their time comes.
- Avoid taking long road trips at night, even if it means enduring your childrens’ back-seat fights and whining. Driving at night involves much higher accident risks than daytime driving, because of reduced visibility, driver fatigue, and drunk drivers.
- Set firm rules for your teen driver, including putting limits on the number of passengers your teen can transport, and times of day that remain off-limits until your teen has more driving experience.
- Do everything you can to make sure children sit in seats and wear restraints appropriate for their height and weight. Educate yourself about how seatbelts and car seats function. In Pennsylvania, all drivers and occupants under the age of 18 must wear properly-adjusted and fastened seat belts while in the car, and children under the age of 8 must be securely fastened in a child restraint system.
- Teach your child about pedestrian safety, including the benefits of wearing bright clothing that is visible to motorists; walking either on sidewalks or — if no sidewalk is available — on the far left edge of the roadway facing opposing traffic; crossing at a crosswalk or intersection while obeying traffic signals or ensuring that the roadway is clear before crossing non-intersected areas; avoiding distractions such as music or cell phone use that distracts from situational awareness; and using care when walking past private driveways and parking lots to avoid being struck by a car as it is backing up.
What to Do if Your Child Gets Injured
Parents whose child suffers injuries in a motor vehicle accident (or any other kind of accident) endure extreme stress and emotional upset. Making clear decisions that protect their child’s, and their own, legal rights can feel difficult during that traumatic time.
Following the steps below can help guide parents in those decisions so that they safeguard their ability to seek compensation for the harm inflicted on their child.
- Seek immediate and appropriate medical care. It probably goes without saying, but it is worth saying anyway, that the single most important thing to do after a child suffers an injury in a motor vehicle accident is to get medical care right away. Go to the emergency room if necessary, and in all events visit your child’s regular doctor or an urgent care clinic within 24 hours. Some car accident injuries do not show symptoms immediately, and can be especially difficult to spot in children without medical attention. Going to the doctor also ensures that your child’s medical records reflect the harm done by the accident, which might prove important in any later legal action.
- Preserve evidence. If your child suffered injuries in an accident you witnessed, take photographs or video of the accident scene if you can do so safely. These images can provide critical evidence of how the accident happened. Afterward, keep all documents you receive relating in any way to your child’s accident or injury. Also hold on to any physical evidence, such as the clothing your child was wearing, a car seat your child rode in, or even the vehicle that crashed. All of these may also provide crucial evidence.
- Contact a Philadelphia child injury lawyer. The sooner speak with an attorney, the better your chances of obtaining the compensation you and your child need and deserve to help pay for medical and other expenses, and your child’s pain and suffering. An attorney can also help to ensure that you do not make mistakes that could cost you valuable legal rights.
Experienced, Caring Philadelphia Child Injury Attorneys
No parent should have to endure the trauma of learning their child has suffered a severe injury in a motor vehicle accident or other incident. At the very least, parents who suffer that agony deserve sound, straightforward, and compassionate legal representation to make sure they get the compensation they need and deserve for their child’s and family’s injuries and losses.
For over 15 years, the lawyers at The Levin Firm have represented Philadelphia parents and children who suffered harm through no fault of their own. Contact us online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free case evaluation.
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