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Children Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents

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Children Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Children Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents

 

Each year in Canada, 2,000 people are killed and 10,000 are seriously injured in traffic collisions. Sadly, many children are reflected in those statistics. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and hospitalization for children under the age of 14, with approximately 70 deaths and 880 serious injuries occurring annually. The main contributing factors for fatal and serious collisions are speed, impaired driving, and lack of occupant restraint.

 

Some of the strategies employed to bring the casualty numbers down include reduced speed limits, more stringent enforcement of impaired driving laws, and public education surrounding seatbelts and car seats. Unfortunately, all three of these factors – speed, impaired driving, and improper use of restraints -- remain a problem. With regards to children specifically, improperly installed seats and improper use of car seats is rampant. While recent statistics show that 99% of children are using a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, many were not safe. 73% of car seats were not installed correctly or were not used correctly. 30% of children in booster seats did not meet the 40-pound minimum weight requirement. And 52% of children secured only by a seat belt should also have been using a booster seat.

 

Car Seats and Restraints

 

By making sure that parents know how to install and use car seats properly, we could save lives. Studies show that more than ¾ of child passengers who sustained motor vehicle crash injuries were not properly restrained at the time of the collision. When used properly, car seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. The risk of hospitalization after a collision is reduced by 67%. 

 

There seems to be confusion around the installation and use of car seats and restraints. Each province has different legislation regarding child safety restraints, and experts agree that these should be harmonized across the country for increased clarity. In addition, some children are more at risk than others. Poor children are more at risk than wealthier ones; boys sustain more injuries than girls; rural children are more vulnerable than urban ones, and First Nations children have a higher percentage of injuries than those in the general population. Many organizations believe that injuries could be reduced significantly with the “three Es”: better education, enforcement, and engineering.

 

  • Education would encourage people to adopt safer behaviour, including proper installation and use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Many communities offer “car seat clinics” where experts demonstrate principles of proper car seat use. Your local fire station may have information about these clinics. You can also get information about installing or using your child’s car seat, you can contact the manufacturer. The following is a link to a list of contact information for the most common safety seat manufacturers.

     

  • Enforcement refers to passing good legislation and regulations surrounding vehicles and roads and enforcing them consistently.

     

  • Engineering is a shorthand way to refer to advancements in the construction of car seats, vehicles, and roads that will help to keep children safe.

 

If Your Child Has Been Injured

 

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an accident occurs and an injury results. If your child suffers a serious injury, you may be experiencing extreme anxiety, guilt, and fear for the future. Once your child has received medical care and is stabilized, you may be wondering how your family will cope with the new reality that living with a serious injury can bring. Many children involved in motor vehicle accidents suffer spinal cord injuries, for example, and that can mean renovating your home to make it wheelchair accessible, buying specialized equipment, and traveling for treatments.

 

Contact a personal injury law firm and sit down with a lawyer to talk about your options. You should file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may also be able to take legal action against other drivers involved. An initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Ontario is usually free of charge, and these lawyers work on a contingency basis. Personal injury lawyers receive a percentage of any compensation that you get, which ensures that your family will not suffer any further financial hardships while you are learning to cope with your child’s injury. Because personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators and are knowledgeable about insurance, claims handled by lawyers receive much higher settlements than those handled by clients themselves.

 

When a child is injured, there are many expenses involved. In addition, you may need to take time off work, or to hire care. Your personal injury lawyer may be able to claim for pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses, caregiver expenses, and more. In addition, a good lawyer can be a source of support in a tough time. Having a personal injury lawyer on your side, fighting for the compensation that you deserve, can make a huge difference to your family’s future.