Protecting Children from Bike Accidents in Virginia Beach

Summer vacation is just around the corner for Virginia schoolchildren, and that means lots of outdoor activities, including bike riding. Most children love to ride bikes. Not only is it fun and gives them the ability to be with their friends, but bike riding also provides good physical exercise – something particularly important these days when so many children would prefer to sit in front of video games. But bike riding can also be dangerous for children, especially if they do not follow bicycle safety rules. National statistics reveal that approximately 100 children are killed each year in bike accidents, and another 250,000 sustain injuries. If your child has been injured, call a Virginia Beach bike accident attorney for legal assistance.

Bike Accident Statistics

According to one study, more than 2.2 million children ages 5 to 17 were treated in U.S. emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries during a 10-year period. That equates to more than 600 cases per day, or 25 every hour. Nearly half of the injuries in the study involved children 10 to 14 years old and three-quarters of those injured were boys. Injuries occurred most frequently in the street or at home.

The injuries that children suffer in bike accidents can be potentially catastrophic. The most common injuries include:

  • Head injuries – Concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Face and eye injuries – Dental fractures, facial fractures, foreign objects in eyes, and severe contusions
  • Chest injuries – Punctured lungs and rib fractures
  • Abdomen injuries – Damage to body organs, internal bleeding

Bicycle Safety for Children

It is up to parents to make sure that their children are well-versed in bike safety. The first step for parents is to make sure that the bike their child is riding is the right size for them. Parents should also make sure that their child has a certified safety helmet that also fits correctly. Sitting down with children and explaining the importance of the following tips are also critical in helping to keep children safe from bike accidents:

  • Do not allow your child to ride on high-traffic roads
  • Explain how important it is to be careful when riding around driveways and parking lots
  • Explain how important it is for your child to wear their helmet at all times
  • Make sure they are dressed in bright colors and do not let them ride at night
  • Make sure they are wearing closed-toe shoes when riding
  • Teach your child how to use hand signals

What If My Child Is Injured?

Personal injury claims for children involve unique considerations due to their legal status as minors and their inability to make legal decisions or enter into contracts independently. When a minor is involved in a personal injury claim, the settlement process requires special attention to ensure their best interests are protected.

Virginia law addresses certain elements of personal injury claims for minors differently than adults. One of those elements is the statute of limitations. Normally, an injured party only has two years to file a personal injury claim, but if that injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations is extended to two years after the minor’s 18th birthday.

Other factors include the requirement that a guardian or “next friend” represent the child’s interests in legal issues, the court’s approval of any settlement agreement entered into on behalf of the child, and the potential requirement of a structured settlement.

Because these cases can be so complex, it is recommended that parents should always consult with an attorney if their child has been injured in an accident.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm

If your child has been injured in a bike accident, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to find out what the best legal course of action may be. Contact our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.