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Child Pedestrian Accidents

Child AccidentCar accidents involving pedestrians can result in serious injuries for the pedestrian. Such accidents are even more tragic when the victim is a child. Nearly four children under age 15 in California are seriously injured or killed every day by cars, and pedestrian accidents are the third leading cause of death in this group.

School Crossings

Many child pedestrian injuries occur while the child is going to and from school. Victims include not only those who walk to school, but also other children, as they walk to and from the buses and cars that drop them off.

Many school crossing accidents involve children going out into the road between intersections, but many others occur while a child is crossing an intersection at a crosswalk. School crossing guards and other measures can increase safety and lower the accident rate.

Evenings and Weekends

Evening and weekend accidents are also very common among child pedestrians. Forty percent of pedestrian accidents occur between 5 and 9 p.m. The dim light and decreased visibility of the evenings and night mean that drivers have a more difficult time seeing pedestrians to avoid striking them.


Adults in California owe children a special duty of care. Children are generally less experienced and less aware than adults, often cannot fully understand the risks of their actions, and sometimes lack the capacity to avoid danger. Adults are thus required to anticipate ordinary child behavior and take extra care to protect children’s safety when dealing with children. While driving in a school zone or near a school bus, drivers should take extra caution to prevent accidents and injury to children and other pedestrians.

California’s comparative fault rule means that if an accident victim was partially at fault in an accident, his or her damages will be reduced proportionately to the degree of fault. However, California holds children to a lower standard of care than adults. This means that a child will not be considered negligent in some cases where an adult acting in the same way would clearly be negligent.

Children are required to use the same degree of care that a reasonably careful child who is of the same age and who has the same intelligence, knowledge, and experience would use under the circumstances. Thus, for example, even though an adult would be considered negligent for failing to look both ways for traffic before crossing an intersection, a six-year-old child would likely not, and thus the child’s damages would not be reduced. Further, children under the age of five are legally incapable of contributory negligence in California.

If your child has been injured in a traffic accident, an experienced and dedicated attorney can help you recover money damages for the injuries your child has suffered. Please call the dedicated San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. to schedule a free initial consultation.

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