How can I protect my children during a car accident in North Carolina?
Getting in a car accident with your children in the car can be very scary, especially if your children are young. It is important to remember that they are victims of the accident, just like you or any other passenger. You need to protect their rights as well as your own.
To prevent such accidents, make sure your children fit into their car seats and always wear their seatbelts. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than one in three children who died as an occupant in a motor vehicle accident were not wearing their seatbelt or were not in a car seat. Also, keep your car well-maintained to minimize the risks of vital equipment like brakes not performing when you need them most. If you have teen drivers, go on rides with them regularly to supervise their driving behavior and offer redirection.
But remember, anytime you are in an accident, and especially when you are struggling to protect your children and their rights, you can benefit from having a trusted attorney by your side. Turning to a North Carolina car accident attorney with deep knowledge in the area of injury claims will give you the resources to investigate your accident and seek damages and provide the support you need at this difficult time.
Car Seats and Booster Seats
It is not enough just to have a car seat for your children —- you need to have the correct car seat for your children, according to their age, weight, height, and industry standards. You can reduce the risk of death in an accident by 71% if you use the right car seat and install it correctly. To make sure your car seats are installed correctly, carefully follow the directions that come with your car seat. Also, in many locations, you can go to your local fire department, and they will help you install your car seat or check to see if you have installed it correctly.
Children should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old. After two, they can move to a front-facing car seat until their height or weight exceeds the car seat’s stated limit. Once these limits are reached, the child should then move to a booster seat until they reach age 8 and are at least 4′ 9″ in height. All 50 states have laws requiring car seat use.
North Carolina law requires that all motor vehicle occupants wear a seatbelt any time a car is driven on a public road or highway in the state (N.C.G.S. § 20.135.2A(a)). Therefore, any of your children who are no longer in a car seat should be wearing a seatbelt.
Seat belts keep you from being thrown from the car, from hitting the windshield, and from moving from your seat into other, more dangerous spaces in the car. A seatbelt will not necessarily keep you protected from all injuries, but your injuries are much less likely to be severe — or fatal — when involved in a crash with a seat belt on.
Accidents Outside of Cars
Children aren’t only hurt when they are inside cars. Children can be hit when playing outside in the road or driveway or while riding their bikes.
If you allow your children to play in or near the road, make sure you instruct them on avoiding traffic and keep an eye out for other hazards. You can also put out cones or other safety equipment to warn drivers that children are at play.
If someone is backing out or entering your driveway where your children are playing, make sure they don’t move their car until you have the children standing near you. If your child is riding their bike, make sure they have a properly fitting helmet, stay on sidewalks or in bike lanes, and always watch for cars around them.
Do you have a teen driver in your house? The best way you can protect them is to enroll them in a driver’s education course. After that, here are some tips to protect a teen driver stay out of an accident:
- Lead by example; model good driving behaviors, and ride along with your teen to instruct them on risky decisions vs. safe decisions
- Remind them to follow all laws, including hands-free laws, drunk driving laws, seat belt laws, and passenger and curfew laws
- Check your insurance, and make sure you have updated it to include your teen driver.
It is a good idea to arm your teen driver with a checklist for what to do if they are in an accident. You can usually get a good checklist from your insurance provider. This checklist and a copy of their insurance card will serve them well if they are ever in an accident. And remind them never to admit fault when talking to the other driver!
Children’s Rights to Recover Damages
Children have the same right to recover damages as any other passenger in a car involved in an accident. For that reason, you should consult a car accident attorney to determine your child’s rights and what damages they can claim for their injuries if you are involved in an accident. Besides having a claim for injuries, they may have a claim just because they were in the car at the time of the accident, leading to a traumatic experience. A North Carolina car accident attorney can tell you what rights your child has and what avenues you have for seeking compensation.
Contact an Experienced North Carolina Car Accident Attorney
If you or your child was injured in a car accident, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced attorney in your area right away. The insurance companies involved will try to get you to settle quickly because that is good for their bottom line. When you sign a settlement agreement, you are cutting off your ability to ask for more money later on if your condition worsens. Before you know how severe your injuries are, signing an agreement could cost you financially for years to come. You could be on the hook for years of medical treatments with no insurance coverage.
Auger & Auger, North Carolina Automobile Insurance attorneys, can help you with your car accident claim. We will fight for you to make sure you get the settlement you deserve for your accident claim. We can meet with you for a free consultation, and we only get paid when you get paid. We have over 26 years of experience representing clients just like you and have recovered over $50,000,000 for our clients.
You can schedule your very own free, confidential, and no-obligation case review when you call 800-559-5741 or contact us online.