The Christmas season can easily excite young children, with lights, holiday decorations, snow, and Santa Claus. Many malls and shopping centers use decorations to engage children and help draw in foot traffic from families. But shopping centers can also become busy, chaotic places during the holidays as shoppers flood in looking to find the perfect holiday gift or score a great deal. This means that parking lots at malls and shopping centers see a significant increase in traffic during the holiday shopping season. The rise in the number of shoppers at malls means that young children are especially at risk for pedestrian accidents

If you plan on taking your young children to a mall or shopping center for this holiday season, you should familiarize yourself with the risks of pedestrian accidents and what your family’s rights and options are if your child is involved in a pedestrian accident in a mall or shopping center parking lot. 

Why Are Young People More at Risk in Parking Lots?

Unfortunately, about a quarter of all pedestrian accidents in parking lots involve children. Children under the age of 14 also represent about a quarter of all fatal pedestrian accidents in parking lots. The holiday season contributes heavily to these statistics as young children often go with their parents on holiday shopping trips, meaning that they are far more likely to be in a mall or shopping center parking lot during the holidays. 

Factors That Increase Pedestrian Accident Risks for Children

Some of the factors unique to young children and the holiday season in parking lots that contribute to the number of pedestrian accidents include:

  • Children’s small size - Younger children’s small size makes them easier for drivers to miss, especially when motorists are driving large vehicles such as SUVs or trucks. Even backing up in sedans or wagons poses a risk to young children who may be walking directly behind a vehicle. 
  • Dart-outs - Unfortunately, young children are more likely to run out into traffic or fail to stop for cars that are backing out of parking spots. 
  • Lack of risk assessment/judgment - Young children also lack the experience to understand traffic rules, which means they are more likely to act against the standards and norms we expect for adult pedestrians. 
  • Distraction - Young children may be easily excited by holiday decorations or anticipation of meeting the mall Santa. Slightly older children can also be easily distracted by cell phones or tablets.
  • Poor parking lot design - Finally, many malls or shopping centers lack traffic controls that help pedestrians and keep them safe around moving vehicles, such as designated crosswalks or stop signs. Young children often lack the experience to move around with vehicles without these clear traffic guides. 

Holding Drivers Responsible for Hitting Young Pedestrians

When a driver is involved in a pedestrian accident with a juvenile, they take the person they hit “as they find them.” Drivers owe a duty to watch out for children pedestrians. If a driver hits your child, you and your family may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation
  • Lost future earnings
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Pedestrian Accident Case in New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a pedestrian accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of pedestrian accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.