If your child is injured in a bicycle accident, the first priority in your mind is getting proper medical care. Once you start to see the medical bills, pain, and suffering your child goes through, you may also want to consider seeking compensation against the responsible driver. When that time comes, it is critical to consult with an experienced Ocala, FL bicycle accidents lawyer who can tell you more about your rights.
Standard of Care Around Children
Personal injury cases generally center on who is liable for the accident through their negligent acts. To prove negligence, it is necessary to show that the responsible party breached the duty to exercise reasonable care, and that this breach caused injuries to another person. However, in a case involving children, such as a bicycle accident, the standard of care is boosted beyond reasonableness: The higher standard is extra or unusual care, which motorists must employ when driving around such areas as:
- Parks and recreational facilities;
- Bus stops;
- Residential neighborhoods;
- Pools and recreational water parks; and,
- Other locations where children are present in larger numbers.
A driver is not automatically liable merely for hitting a child on a bicycle. The real question is whether the motorist breached the higher standard of care in accidents involving children.
Filing a Claim for Your Child’s Bicycle Accident Injuries
Seeking compensation for your child’s injuries after an accident is a special process because of his or her age: Legally, a minor does not have capacity to file a claim. As a parent, you do have options:
- Florida law allows you to settle a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company without authority from the court so long as it does not exceed $15,000.
- If the claim for losses is more than $15,000, you will need court approval through a guardianship proceeding. As a parent, a court can appoint you as the personal representative to act on your child’s behalf.
- When you are unable to resolve your claim with an insurance company, it may be necessary to file suit on behalf of your child. Only a court appointed guardian can file this type of lawsuit.
Children and Comparative Negligence in Florida
There is a legal concept that may affect the amount of compensation that you can receive for losses resulting from your child’s bicycle accident injuries. Comparative negligence under Florida law holds a victim responsible if his or her own actions are a contributing factor in an accident. Application of this legal doctrine depends upon the age of the child.
Speak with an Ocala, FL Personal Injury Attorney About Your Child’s Bicycle Accident Injuries
If your child was hurt in a bicycle accident, the first step is to get proper medical care. Then, you need to talk to an attorney who can help with personal injury cases involving children. Please call Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law at 352-581-6174 or go online to set up a free appointment at our Ocala, FL office today.