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Wichita parent's traffic error may have caused fatal wreck

Initial reports blame a Wichita mother of two for a fatal crash. Sedgwick County deputies are continuing to investigate the auto accident that critically injured a baby, seriously injured the mother and killed a 3-year-old boy.

The mother and her two children were in a Chevrolet minivan that crossed through a Kansas intersection and into the path of an oil tanker truck. Police said the 30-year-old woman driver ran a red light. The 62-year-old tractor-trailer driver was unhurt.

Crews arrived on the scene to find the woman holding her injured 9-month-old daughter. The child's brother was thrown from his car seat and died after being transported to a hospital.

Deputies said the children had been riding in car seats. Investigators will try to determine how securely the young victims were restrained in the seats at the time of the midday crash.

The investigation seems to indicate that the driver who lost her son and was seriously injured along with her baby daughter caused the crash. The mother may or may not be charged with a crime because she reportedly ignored a traffic signal or improperly buckled her children into car seats.

There is also a possibility that a neglectful parent could face a civil action.

At one time, the doctrine of parental immunity prohibited children from suing their parents for injuries caused by negligence. The doctrine was designed to promote family harmony and discourage collusion and fraud.

Many states have dropped all or parts of the parental immunity doctrine, especially in instances when a child is injured as a passenger while a parent is driving.

Kansas children who are victims of negligence may file a personal injury civil lawsuit against a parent for damages such as medical expenses. A personal injury attorney can explain the timeline involved and how lawsuits are filed when minor children are injured and require an adult representative to act in their interests.

Source: ksn.com, "Sheriff's department releases new information in Maize fatal accident," Mikayla Lewis, Jan. 4, 2013

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