Car accidents can be devastating for anyone involved in them. They can cause serious injuries or even death to those involved in a crash, not to mention the expenses that accompany these injuries, like ambulance bills, hospital bills, skilled nursing care, rehabilitative services, and the cost of future medical treatment.
Anyone can be injured in a car accident but some people are more likely than others to sustain harm. Among all age groups, children and minors are particularly prone to suffering injuries in a crash even when the proper precautions are utilized.
In 2011, children aged 14 and under accounted for approximately 20 percent of the national population. With 61 million children in 2011, it is not surprising that increased attention has been placed on child safety while traveling in cars. The most common safety procedures designed to keep kids safe include the use of car seats, booster seats, and seatbelts as well as allowing young children to ride only in the back seat of a vehicle. In most states, including Illinois, parents are required to abide by many safety rules or they can face punishment from the state.
Though compliance with mandatory safety provisions has increased dramatically in the preceding decades, motor vehicle collisions continue to be the leading cause of death among children age four and ages 11-14. In other age groups, car accidents are responsible for a large percentage of deaths but are not the leading cause. In 2011 alone, an average of three children aged 14-and-under were killed and another 469 children were injured every day in car accidents across the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Avoiding an Injury to a Child in a Car Crash
You may not be able to prevent an accident from happening. You may be driving as safely as possible and still become the victim of another driver’s negligence. But if you travel with children, the best thing you can do is to focus on safety before you even begin to drive.
Restraints, or seat belts, should always be used. Statistically, use of seat belts among young children is high but it declines as children age. Of all those involved in fatal collisions in 2011, 91 percent of children under the age of one were restrained but that number decreased as the age group increased, leaving just 60 percent of those aged 15-20 restrained. These numbers persist even though seat belts have been shown to significantly reduce the odds death in a crash as well as reducing the severity of injuries in those that survive, by approximately 45 and 50 percent, respectively.
Child safety seats, or car seats and boosters, should also be used where appropriate and where required by law. These tend to be used only with the youngest of passengers who are too small to otherwise fill out a standard seat in a car and to fit in a seat belt without help. Safety seats have been proven to reduce the risk of death by approximately 71 percent among children under one year of age and by about 54 percent in children ages one to four.
Individual cars also can have safety designs that may be a benefit or a detriment to minor passengers. Prime among these are airbags, and in particular, front seat airbags. Airbags are designed to cushion the body of an adult from striking the steering column, steering wheel, or dashboard in a standard car with front deploying airbags. They are very effective in reducing injuries among adults, but among children, they can do far more harm than good. The location, size, and force with which an airbag deploys makes them unsafe for small children and is a primary reason that experts encourage parents to allow children only in the backseat of a vehicle. Further, a rear-facing car seat should never be placed where a front-deploying airbag is located. The force of the airbag deploying can dislodge these seats and push the car seat against the backrest of the seat in the vehicle, potentially leaving a child with serious injuries.Chicago Car Accidents Involving Children
Like adults, the laws in Chicago provide children with the right to seek compensation for their injuries if they are harmed in an automobile collision caused by another’s negligence. This may be the negligence of another driver or even the driver in the car with the child, depending on the accident and the situation that resulted. The important thing to know is that if your child has been hurt, your child and your family may have a claim for damages.
The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer you a free case consultation regarding your child’s accident and injuries. You can reach us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally at (312) 924-7575. There is no obligation on your part for taking advantage of the consultation and if we represent you and your child, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
The law allows injury victims to seek compensation but these claims must be brought within a specified period of time or they will be forever waived. Make sure your child has his or her interests protected by calling us today and letting us help your family get a recovery you deserve.
If your child has been injured in a car accident, call us now at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free consultation.