Often, in my work as a Missouri personal injury lawyer, I see cases where people have made bad decisions that have harmed others, like causing an accident while driving while intoxicated. A recent story in the Kansas City Star tells of an unusually bad decision made by a 16-year-old driver in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. He and an 8-year-old friend had an ongoing game in which the younger boy would ride his skateboard while hanging onto the passenger side of a pickup truck driven by the older boy. The game came to an unfortunate end on June 2 when the younger boy was run over by the truck. Fortunately, he was not killed. I wish him a full recovery and the incident teaches his friend to be careful around motor vehicles.
The two boys lived in the same neighborhood and had played this game for some time, neighbors told police. But this time, the younger boy lost his balance and fell off his skateboard while being pulled by the truck. He let go of the passenger side of the truck, and the truck’s back wheel ran over his abdomen. The young boy was then taken to an apartment in the neighborhood, and when emergency crews responded to a call there, they found him unconscious and having trouble breathing. The boy was airlifted to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where he remained in critical condition.
Teen drivers are notorious for making bad decisions, which is why state governments often impose special restrictions on teen drivers, like graduated licensing, that don’t apply to adults. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, newly licensed teen drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than more experienced drivers are, and young males are much more likely than young females to be involved in crashes. In Missouri, about 250 people die each year in an accident involving a teen driver, making Missouri the tenth-deadliest state for such crashes. The factors that make teen drivers more likely to crash, such as inexperience and immaturity, were probably factors in the accident that led the 8-year-old boy’s injuries. Unfortunately for the 16-year-old driver, the legal consequences of an accident like this are very serious. He could not only face criminal penalties for reckless driving, but be sued by the younger boy’s family, even though the driver undoubtedly did not mean to hurt his friend. The driver’s lack of ill will doesn’t exempt him from the consequences of his bad judgment.
As a St. Louis personal injury attorney, I work with injured people every day, so I know how costly medical treatment can be for injuries like those that the 8-year-old suffered. The costs for being airlifted to a hospital and requiring overnight care for a critical injury can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. Once the young boy is out of the hospital, he will most likely continue to need medical care, especially if any of his injuries are permanent. With permanent injuries, accident victims often need special equipment such as wheelchairs and accessible living accommodations. He may also need special academic help if he misses a lot of school due to medical appointments or illness, and this can mean missed work for his parents, which means lost income. The negative consequences of just one instance of poor judgment can snowball and severely affect the victim’s life, not to mention the lives of family members.
The best remedy for a problem like this is to avoid having preventable accidents in the first place. But once the damage is done, the law recognizes that it’s unfair to expect victims to suffer all the consequences alone. With the help of an experienced southern Illinois personal injury lawyer, victims can recover compensation for the costs I described above, as well as for pain and suffering and lost quality of life. Often, victims feel reluctant to sue their neighbors for damages since they may have been friendly, or they may still have to see each other frequently. But it’s important to note that personal injury lawsuits are directed at a driver’s insurance company, and the insurance company handles almost everything involved with the lawsuit. Fear of a bad future relationship should never stop victims of accidents from recovering the money they need to handle injuries that were no fault of their own.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we have spent years helping accident victims get compensation for their injuries and get on with their lives. For a free consultation, at which you can learn about your rights and your options, please call us at 1-877-678-3400 or send us an email through our website.