Claiming Compensation for a Child Cyclist Hit by a Car
For many children, a bike is their first experience of the freedom to travel, and of taking responsibility for their own safety. For their parents, it also represents the first time they let their child go unsupervised into the wider world. Most stories will end happily, but unfortunately some will involve an accident.
If you’re a parent whose child was injured while out cycling, what rights do you and your child have, and how do you go about claiming compensation for a child? The second of our blogs for APIL’s Injury Prevention week looks at the facts you need to know.
Child cyclist accident statistics
In 2018, 1,954 children aged between 0-15 were killed or injured while using a bicycle. 331 of those injuries were either serious or fatal. While on average it is more dangerous to be an adult cyclist than a child, it doesn’t change the fact that in one year alone, 331 families received the devastating news that their child had been injured or killed while out on their bike.
Peter aged 14 was cycling home from school when a car reversed out in front of him from a driveway that was hidden by a hedge. Peter couldn’t see the car until it was too late, and the driver did not look carefully enough before reversing. He was thrown from his bike and landed heavily on his head and back.
Peter’s cycle accident injuries
Because Peter was wearing a cycle helmet, his head was protected from some, but not all, of the impact (if he had not been wearing a helmet an allegation of contributory negligence would have been made). He lost some teeth when his face hit the pavement and broke the arm that was outstretched as he landed. He also suffered cuts and bruises.
Doctors were able to repair the damage to his arm, and he would be put on the waiting list for reconstructive dentistry. Unfortunately, once his injuries had began to heal, it started to become apparent that even though he was wearing a helmet, the collision had left Peter with subtle brain damage.
He found it difficult to concentrate on his return to school, and his parents and teachers noticed that his behaviour had changed. Where he previously been a very laid-back child, he was quick to anger and lashed out at several of his classmates. He was also struggling with the false teeth that he had been given to replace the ones he lost and had become reluctant to eat because of this.
How could a claim help?
Although they hadn’t considered it at the time, Peter’s parents decided to find out if their son had a claim. By successfully proving that the driver of the car had not taken due care and attention to other road users when reversing out of the driveway, we were able to successfully negotiate a settlement after seeking expert medical opinion from a specialist dental and paediatric neuropsychologist that funded dental implants to replace the missing teeth, and rehabilitation for Peter’s brain injury. As with all cases involving a minor the settlement had to be approved by the court. Our experts in mental capacity were able to secure appointment of a Court-approved Deputy to make sure damages were safely invested. Although he may never fully recover from his injuries, he now has the support available to help him move on with his life.
Claiming compensation for a child
In England and Wales, only an adult can make a legal claim. If you are under 18, someone must be appointed as a Litigation Friend, which means they are entitled to claim on your behalf. If the injured person does not have mental capacity, then a litigation friend can be appointed even after they turn 18.
Child road accident claim specialists
If there has been a car accident involving your child, then contact our expert serious injury team now to find out if you can claim. We’ve helped many families whose loved ones have been injured on the road, and will fight for the compensation your child needs.