Motorist Negligence In Child Dart-Out Cases

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A driver travelling at a reasonable and safe speed, obeying all rules of the road, is generally not liable when a child runs out into the street so suddenly that the driver cannot stop or otherwise avoid injury to the child.  However, there are many considerations which may lead to a driver being found to be at least partially at fault, including speeding, failing to yield, disregarding traffic signs, and other improper driving.

Driver's Duties

A motorist is ordinarily not bound to anticipate a child running out in front of their car, especially if the driver has no knowledge of any kids near the road and cannot reasonably be expected to discover their presence.  However, a driver who knows or should know of children in the vicinity has a duty to exercise reasonable care for their safety.  This reasonable care is higher than that for adults because it requires a driver to anticipate childish conduct.  Some examples of evidence  that children may be near the road include:

Therefore, the question of negligence in child dart-out cases usually revolves around whether the driver knew or should have known of children in the area.  Generally, a motorist who is proceeding at a lawful or reasonable speed, obeying all the requirements of the law of the road and for the operation of motor vehicles, is generally not liable for injuries to a child darting in front of or into the side of his or her vehicle so suddenly that he or she cannot stop or otherwise avoid an injury.  

Should I Consult An Attorney About My Child Dart-Out Case?

Child dart-out cases can be complex and emotional for everyone involved.  If your child was hit by a car, a personal injury attorney can explain your rights and help collect for your child's injuries.  If you were the driver of a car who struck a child, an attorney can help protect you from liability.

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Last Modified: 01-16-2013 03:18 PM PST

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