After an accident with children in the vehicle, there are certain steps you should take to make sure they are safe and get the necessary treatment as soon as possible. Georgia also has specific laws for how children in a vehicle should ride and be restrained, which can save their lives.
Getting in a car accident that you didn’t cause is devastating for anyone. But when children are involved, it can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Due to their age and size, children are more susceptible to serious injuries in an accident. After an accident involving a child, it’s vital to stay calm enough to take action.
What to Do After an Accident with Children in the Vehicle
To protect the safety of all children in the vehicle, it’s very important to do the following after getting into an auto accident.
Check on Your Kids
After an accident, you should make sure those involved are not in life-threatening danger. Check on all children in the crash. Ask how they feel and if anything hurts.
If the child has serious injuries, call 911 for an ambulance right away. Also, make sure the kids are out of the way or other immediate dangers, such as oncoming traffic.
Call the Police
Call the police to report the accident. They can arrive at the scene and gather information from all drivers. Tell them there were children in the car with you and how they were injured. If the other driver was at fault, this police report will be important for filing an insurance claim with their insurance company.
Get Medical Attention
Even if your child does not have visible injuries or says they are not in pain, take them to a doctor very soon. Some car accident injuries can take time to develop, and children may not realize injuries right away. Getting checked out by a doctor will ensure anything that needs treatment is addressed.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer
Call a local car accident lawyer and tell them about the accident. Mention yours and your child’s injuries. A lawyer can evaluate your case and help you build a strong claim for damages.
Make Sure Children Are Always Properly Restrained
Parents and guardians should always make sure children are properly restrained in a moving vehicle. This won’t prevent accidents from happening, but it can protect children if a collision does happen. Most states have laws on the specifics, including Georgia.
Georgia Child Passenger Safety Laws
In Georgia, according to Georgia Code § 40-8-76.1, children below the age of eight in a vehicle must be restrained in a child passenger safety seat or a booster seat appropriate for their height and weight. (The seat’s manufacturer instructions should detail proper height/weight specifications.)
The above applies to cars, pickup trucks, vans, and other automobiles moving on a street, road, or highway. Public transit, school buses, and taxis are exempt from this law.
In addition, children under age eight must ride in the vehicle’s back seat. Children below age 12 are also recommended to ride in the back seat as much as possible.
Exemptions to Children in Vehicle Safety Laws
Parents and guardians may be exempt from following child passenger safety laws in the following situations:
- They are driving a vehicle without lap and shoulder seat belts OR those belts are safely restraining other children in the vehicle.
- The child is taller than four feet, nine inches. The parent or guardian must be able to demonstrate that the child is above this height.
If the proper seat belts are not available in the vehicle, children weight 40 pounds or higher should be properly restrained with a lap belt.
If the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, they must still be restrained by a safety belt. This also applies to any minor passenger who is at least six years old. Children who are over the height limit and between ages eight and 18 must be in a seat belt, no matter where they are seated.
Restraining Children in a Vehicle Saves Lives
Unfortunately, vehicle accidents are a leading cause of child death. Improper use of (or failure to use) car seats is a huge factor.
- There were 3,313 children under age 13 killed from 2013 to 2017 in passenger vehicles. In 2017, around 37% of those children were not restrained at all.
- When used correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of death from a collision by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers.
Even so, sometimes injuries still happen—even when children in the vehicle are properly restrained and buckled. If you or your children were injured in a vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you build a strong case for the financial recovery you deserve. Call us today for a FREE consultation at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.