Ask almost anyone what the leading cause of death is in children. What is the response? Most will tell you motor vehicle accidents, and they would be right. We see far too many incidents where a young child, unseatbelted, is injured in a motor vehicle collision. While disturbing, unfortunately, it is not the worst we see.
Arizona law requires children under 18 to wear a seat belt. Indeed, it is the responsibility of an adult driver to make sure that all children in the car are properly secured. So, how can it be that there are no laws prohibiting children and passengers from riding in the backs of pickup trucks? That makes no sense to me whatsoever. I do not understand why all states have not been able to pass laws banning or restricting riding in the cargo areas of trucks.
Just this week, an 8-year-old boy fell out of the back of a truck that was reportedly only going 5 to 10 miles-per-hour. The Chandler boy was transported to Maricopa Medical Center due to a head injury. Initial reports were not optimistic. We have not heard an update on his condition.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, passengers riding in a cargo area are eight (8) times more likely to die than restrained passengers riding in the cab. A scary statistic: Over 30% of the deaths to those riding in the cargo area are due to non-crash events like swerving and stopping. A child on a motorcycle may even be safer than riding in the back of a truck, considering they at least have to wear a helmet (in all but two states).
If you drive a pickup and allow your child to ride in the cargo/bed area, and your child is injured in a collision, even if it is the fault of another, it is very likely that you will share the blame for your child’s injuries. In Arizona, the law of “comparative negligence” means that we look at everyone who shares fault for another’s injuries and damages, and we apportion responsibility for that fault. Can you imagine being the victim of another driver’s mistake, yet, being held at fault and monetarily punished? This is the law in Arizona.
People often think that they don’t need an attorney when involved in an auto collision that is another’s fault. However, as in this type of instance, a case you may feel is simple and clear cut can easily turn into something involving comparative negligence, and before you know it, a finger of blame is being pointed at YOU. I would not suggest for even a moment you attempt to navigate the legal system alone, and you don’t need to, especially when most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. The attorney is not owed any money unless the lawsuit is resolved in your favor. This allows for people to afford legal costs when they may not have the cash at hand.