The Attorneys of Mitchell & Shea in San Diego Offer Driving Suggestions to Keep Kids Safe this Holiday Season

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New toys, bikes, scooters, electric vehicles and other Christmas presents can create a hazard for kids. The experienced personal injury lawyers of Mitchell & Shea share the following tips to help you avoid these common injury accidents.

we hope that everyone has a joyful holiday season and healthy new year...and that these tips and reminders contribute to the public's safety

At every age, children face danger. As babies, car seats, safe cribs, and secure strollers may be a priority. But as children get older, the hazards become even more commonplace and even more complex. Though injuries to children occur year-round, during the holiday season "we see a lot of injuries that are related to bike accidents, falls from scooters, and young pedestrians who are struck by cars," Personal Injury Attorney Patrick Shea of Mitchell & Shea says. "Some accidents involve bike helmets that fall beneath safety guidelines, or skateboards that have manufacturer defects. We also see instances where children who are riding their new bikes are struck by negligent car drivers. If your child has been injured, we may be able to find the truth about why the injury occurred and hold the responsible parties accountable. But just a bit of prevention can minimize the risks of a tragedy occurring."

The first step to prevention is making sure that toys and products are age appropriate. "Pay attention to age requirements. If a product says that it is for kids six and up, for instance," Attorney Brian Mitchell says, "parents should follow the guidelines. Even if an aunt or uncle sent a toy that is not age appropriate to your son or daughter, don't let them have it. A disappointed kid is better than an injured one."

However, he adds, "even if a young child is injured by a product that was designed for an older one, the company that built the toy may still bear responsibility for injuries. In these case, the family should consult with experienced personal injury attorneys to determine the merits of their case." Mitchell also says that, "many people believe that if they have any responsibility for an injury, there is no way to hold the manufacturer responsible. But even if someone is partially at-fault for an injury their child suffered, they may still be entitled to compensation. Liability can be divided."

Shea echoes this point in regard to bike, scooter and skateboard accidents that are common shortly after the Christmas holiday. "Many kids get new bikes, scooters and skateboards for Christmas and want to ride them immediately. They may ride through their neighborhoods and get struck by negligent motorists. The kid may have been on the wrong side of the street, on the sidewalk and running a red light" but, even though they may have violated the law, they may still "not be liable for their injuries because, as children, they are unable to understand the presence of danger as an adult might. Thus, drivers must always use extreme caution especially if they are in a neighborhood, near a park or school or other place where children are likely to be present."

The attorneys suggest the following tips to prioritize safety.

  • Slow down while driving in neighborhoods. Speeding through housing complexes is always dangerous but during the holidays, kids are out of school and may be operating unfamiliar modes of transportation. Kids can easily lose control of their bikes and dart into the street without warning.
  • When coming to a stop in your vehicle, always look both ways. Children may be approaching on the wrong side of the street. Just because there is no traffic approaching from one side does not mean the way is clear.
  • Be extra cautious in the evening and at night. Holiday decorations and extensive lighting displays may capture your attention. Beware though. Kids may be present in the street and may be difficult to see. Focus on the road rather than the Christmas lights.
  • Never drink and drive. This is advice that should be repeated daily, the attorneys say, but is especially important during the holiday season. If you or a family member are injured by a drunk driver, Mitchell & Shea may help you recover compensation from the responsible party. Punitive damages for pain and suffering may also be available to maximize the amount of compensation an injury victim may receive.

"The details of every injury case are unique. After we perform a thorough analysis of the situation, we can determine how best to proceed and we will use our experience and resources to pursue justice and compensation on a victim's behalf, " Patrick Shea says. "But our hope is that everyone has a joyful holiday season and healthy new year. With that in mind, we hope these tips and reminders contribute to the public's safety."

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Patrick Shea
since: 06/2013
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Mitchell & Shea, APC
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