Knott County Unveils 2020 Trick-or-Treating Restrictions

| Oct 5, 2020 | Injuries

Children in Hindman and nearby communities can still get candy on October 31, but there are a few added wrinkles this year.

County Judge Jeff Dobson said that trick-or-treating would be allowed between 4pm and 6pm. Adults handing out candy must wear masks, which many of them would probably wear anyway. Gloves are preferred, but not required. Furthermore, adults must keep as much distance as possible between themselves and the trick-or-treaters. Dobson also discouraged trick-or-treating in groups.

“In the meantime we want kids to be able to enjoy this. We do not want them to miss out on this fun. It’s definitely going to be one to remember and one that they will hopefully never forget. Hopefully they can look back and smile about it one day,” he said.

Halloween and Pedestrian Accidents

COVID-19 concerns might get most of the headlines this year, but the virus is not the only threat lurking in the shadows. Indeed, it’s not even the most serious threat. In most years, child pedestrian fatalities double on October 31. One would think that drivers would be more mindful of children on a night like Halloween, but apparently, that is not the case.

Speed is usually the leading cause of pedestrian fatalities. At impact speeds of 20mph or less, the pedestrian fatality rate is less than 10 percent. The pedestrian fatality rate catapults to over 90 percent at impact speeds above 40mph.

Speed also increases the risk of a pedestrian collision. Velocity multiples stopping distance, which is the ground a vehicle covers between the moment a driver sees a hazard and the moment the driver safely stops the car.

Halloween child pedestrian injuries have a number of aggravating risk factors. The sun is usually low when trick-or-treaters are out. That reduces visibility. Additionally, small children are more difficult to see than large adults. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) sometimes use these circumstances as excuses. But these excuses seldom if ever hold up in court.

There are some ways to reduce the risk. Always accompany children, at least while they are on the sidewalk and crossing the street. Giving children a small light, like a lighted pumpkin, can make a world of difference.

Legal Issues

Pedestrian accidents usually involve either negligence per se or the ordinary negligence rule. Lexington personal injury attorneys can effectively use either one to obtain compensation.

Negligence per se is a violation of a safety statute, such as failure to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk. Tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law if:

  • They violate a safety law, and
  • That violation substantially causes a crash.

Unfortunately, most pedestrian accidents occur outside marked crosswalks. So, the negligence per se doctrine does not apply very frequently in these cases.

That leaves the ordinary negligence doctrine. Negligence is basically a lack of reasonable care in this context. Striking a trick-or-treater, even if the child was technically jaywalking across the street, arguably violates this duty of care.

To avoid paying compensation in these ordinary negligence claims, many insurance companies try to use the sudden emergency defense. This defense excuses negligent conduct if the tortfeasor:

  • Reasonably reacted to
  • A sudden emergency.

The first prong is usually present in pedestrian accidents. Most tortfeasors pull over and wait for emergency responders to arrive. The second prong is usually absent in these claims. Legally, a “sudden emergency” is a hood fly-up or another completely unexpected event. A jaywalking child, especially a trick-or-treater, clearly does not fall into this category. 

Your Claim for Damages

Almost all pedestrian accident claims settle out of court. Such resolutions are usually good things. They reduce litigation costs, hasten the outcome, and give litigants more control over the result. 

Typically, settlement does not come quickly. First, attorneys must collect evidence in support of the claim. This stage is critical, partially because the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof. Additionally, there is usually a direct relationship between the amount of evidence presented and the amount of damages a Fayette County jury awards.

Evidence alone is not enough. Evidence by itself is like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. An attorney must put these pieces together and create a compelling picture.

If liability is clear, the insurance company has a duty to settle cases within a few weeks. However, there is almost always at least some question as to liability, due to defenses like sudden emergency. So, most personal injury claims involve legal paperwork.

If the case remains unresolved at this point, most judges refer the claim to mediation. A neutral third party meets with both sides and tries to forge a settlement. If both sides negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.

Stay extra safe this Halloween. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.