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What if a Child Pedestrian is Hit and Injured by a Drunk Driver?

By David Wolf, Attorney and Amanda Woods, Law Clerk
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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As parents, the safety of a child is a paramount responsibility and duty. Despite our best efforts, children can be injured by the negligent or careless acts of others. In most every community, there are reported automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents. Many reported accidents are quite common like a rear end collision or bad left turn impeding the right of way of another driver. Other incidents may not be as common but still cause serious personal injuries. For instance, some children are injured when a vehicle drives over a curb and onto a sidewalk. There have also been accidents reported in which a driver crashes into a building or into a school. In most instances, a child is quite safe walking on a sidewalk along the side of a parent or other responsible adults. However, a child can be seriously injured when these not so common accidents take place. Certainly, most of these accidents are neither expected or predictable by the parent. As such, no action on the part of the parent could reasonably avoid the accident or injuries.

In New Hampshire, a tragic accident was reported. A mother went to pick up her three year old son from the day care center. As they leisurely walked down the sidewalk, the mother wanted to make her son feel safe and offered him her hand to hold. Even though the mother properly supervised her son and went to the extent of holding his hand while walking on the sidewalk, the young boy was hit by a driver who drove over a curb and onto the sidewalk.

The driver was charged with driving while intoxicated and first degree assault for hitting three year old Cooper Rogers while under the influence of prescription drugs including Ativan. Police report the driver also failed two field sobriety tests. Her car jumped the curb and struck Cooper in front of the Hillsborough Child Development Center and threw him several feet onto a nearby lawn. The driver was subsequently arrested and held pending the payment of a bond. If the criminal case moves forward, the driver will be entitled to legal representation by a New Hampshire Criminal Defense Lawyer or the services of the local Public Defender’s Office.

The child was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you would like to read more about the fund or this story please see – 3 Year Old Pedestrian Injured in New Hampshire.

As far as is now known, the driver was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. For many people, she is not the image that comes to mind when thinking about drunk drivers. However, drunk driving is not limited to impairment by alcohol alone. In fact, as this story illustrates, the legal and real world consequences of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs is often the same. It was reported that the driver confessed to police offers that she was taking prescription drugs, including Ativan. Ativan is a medication that is often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. It is also commonly used as a sedative. Extreme drowsiness and blurred vision are listed as side effects. Although Ativan and many other drugs warn users not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the user knows that they can perform these activities safely, it is unknown how many users actually heed these warnings. In some cases the danger may be increased my mixing prescription medications with alcohol.

Following an automobile accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident, the parent of the injured child is faced with a number of challenges including those related to medical care, medical expenses, insurance, and, yes, those related to the pursuit of a claim or case for compensation for the accident related injuries. It is important that the parents of the injured child get support from family, friends, and the community. When the parents or a designated family member are able to speak to an attorney, time can be of the essence in getting legal representation due the to the deluge of issues and challenges that arise during these very trying times. A New Hampshire Child Injury Lawyer can assist the family in assessing the situation and advising the family as to the rights of the injured child and the applicable laws on point.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Medical Treament and Bills, Insurance, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.