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What Are the Legal Rights of Parents When a Child Pedestrian Dies in California?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In California and other States, children are the unfortunate injury victims of automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Drivers should exercise due caution anytime children are present or nearby. Areas where drivers should slow down and be on the lookout for child pedestrians include but are not limited to: schools, day care centers, churches, synagogues, community centers, parks, playgrounds, and other areas. Parking lots can also be dangerous areas for children including parking lots at these locations as well as apartments, condominiums, grocery stores, shopping centers, malls, and other areas. Drivers should look in all directions and be mindful that children are often hidden from view due to their height. At times, it may be helpful for a police officer, volunteer or other person to direct traffic on days in which attendance is full like on Church Sundays, game day Saturdays, and other events. Many accidents and incidents can be prevented with due diligence, slow speed, driver attention, limitations of driver distractions, and other acts that promote safety driving.

In Daly City, California, a tragic pedestrian accident was recently reported that involved a 6 year old girl who was struck by a vehicle in a church parking lot. The incident occurred after mass at the St. Andrew Catholic Church. For more information about this tragic accident – See 6 Year Old Girl Dies from Pedestrian / Automobile Accident Related Personal Injuries in California. Due to the fact that a death resulted from this incident, a full investigation will be completed to determine the cause and preventability of the pedestrian accident.

In California and other States, the parents have a legal right to pursue a case or claim for the wrongful death of a child. Each case should be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances. A wrongful death case can be pursued if the following four elements can be established:

1. Duty; 2. Breach of Duty; 3. Causation; and 4. Damages.

If the above elements can be established, the Child Injury Lawyer will also consider the availability of insurance, comparative fault if any of the child and / or others, the preventability of the accident, and other factors.

Damages can be pursued in the form of loss of companionship and mental anguish caused by the child’s death. The amount of the damages settled for or awarded will depend on the age of the child, age of the parents, life expectancy of the child and the parents, quality of the relationship between the child and parent, impact of the child’s death on each parent, and other factors.

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 Treatment and Bills, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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