What to Do If Your Child Was Injured in a Bicycle Accident

Bicycling is a family-friendly and health-conscious activity for Missouri residents, but when an accident occurs to a child in traffic, the results can be tragic. Despite Missouri’s pure comparative negligence insurance laws, the state never holds children to the same standards of reasonable care as adults. Children under the age of seven are never negligent in Missouri bicycle accidents. In most cases, children cannot legally share fault for an accident until they are 14 years old or older.

Drivers in Missouri have a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent causing injuries. This requires vigilance and rigorous adherence to traffic laws to protect bicyclists, especially around parks and schools where children may be present. If your child was injured in a bicycle accident, it’s essential to know what steps to take at the scene and during the days following the accident to protect your child and your family both physically and financially.

What to Do at the Scene After a Child’s Bicycle Injury

Nothing is as terrifying for parents as their child suffering a serious injury. When a collision occurs between a bicycling child and a 4,000-pound metal vehicle, the child is vulnerable to serious injury or death. The trauma and terror of seeing your child injured in a bicycle accident may make it difficult to keep a cool head, but taking the following steps at the scene of the accident is critical:

  • If you can safely move your child, move the child out of traffic, but if the child has a possible neck or back injury, don’t move them. Instead, create a barrier around them to block traffic. Leave the child’s bicycle in place
  • Provide reasonable first-aid and comfort and call 911 to request emergency services and law enforcement
  • Use your phone’s camera to take photos of the scene or hand your phone to someone else to do this for you while you comfort your child and wait for help
  • Photograph the damaged bicycle and its placement on the street or sidewalk
  • Photograph the car that hit your child, including any visible damage
  • Take photos of the accident scene, capturing anything relevant to the accident, such as a traffic signal, signs, or an intersection
  • Collect the driver’s contact information
  • Add the contact information of eyewitnesses to the accident

Emergency services should always transport a child straight to the hospital after a serious bicycle accident.

What to Do During the Days After a Child’s Bicycle Accident

At the hospital have your child’s doctor perform a thorough medical examination. It’s critical to catch all injuries as early as possible, including those that don’t immediately show symptoms. The rush of adrenaline after an accident can mask early injury symptoms.

Ask the doctor for a detailed medical report with the treatment recommendations for each injury as well as your child’s prognosis. 

In the days following the bicycle accident, follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. Keep copies of all medical bills, prescription payments, and receipts for all injury-related expenses. Request a copy of the police report of the accident and call an experienced St. Louis bicycle accident attorney before speaking to the insurance company of the at-fault driver or accepting an early settlement. Early settlement offers are almost always far lower than the amount available for serious injuries to a child.