Backover accidents can cause serious or even fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists, and, tragically, these accidents are far more likely to injure or kill young children. These accidents occur when a driver puts their vehicle in reverse and fails to see a pedestrian or bicyclist behind them. These accidents usually occur at a relatively slow speed, but they are still incredibly dangerous.
If you or a loved one suffered from a backover accident, you need to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. These incidents can cause various serious and expensive injuries, including broken bones, organ damage, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, soft tissue injuries, and more. You need to contact a car accident personal injury lawyer immediately in order to hold the responsible driver accountable.
Backover Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, backover accidents cause around 183 deaths and 7,000 injuries annually. Although any driver can cause a backover accident, it’s especially common with larger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks. The reason why this is the case is that larger vehicles have larger blind spots than cars, and SUV and truck drivers sit higher from the ground, making it more likely that they fail to spot a cyclist or pedestrian.
These accidents can occur anywhere, but they’re especially common in certain settings, such as homes, parking lots, and construction sites.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that 70 construction workers were killed in backover accidents in 2011 alone. This is likely the case because construction sites often feature many large vehicles and the atmosphere is much louder, meaning that workers may fail to notice a vehicle backing up.
Sadly, young children are far more likely to be injured or killed in a backover accident than adolescents and adults. Every week, 50 children are injured or killed in backover accidents in the United States, and the majority of these children are between 12 and 23 months. Six out of ten of these accidents involve a larger vehicle, and in 70% of these accidents, the driver is related to the child. The most common location for backover accidents involving children is the driveway of the child’s home.
The reason why these accidents are especially dangerous for children is that they’re much smaller than teenagers and adults, making them harder to spot. Additionally, children are less likely to realize the dangers of a slow-moving car. Backover accidents involving children usually result in far more serious injuries than with adults because they’re smaller and more fragile.
In addition to children, adults over the age of 70 have a higher risk of severe injury or death from backover accidents.
Causes of Backover Accidents
The vast majority of backover accidents are caused by negligent drivers. There could be various factors that cause a driver to backover a pedestrian or cyclist, but the most common are:
- Driving while distracted: A driver may fail to notice a person who’s behind them as a direct result of engaging in a distraction. Common distractions include texting, adjusting a GPS, music, eating or drinking, and adjusting the radio. Drivers should avoid distractions at the wheel at all times, and this is especially important when backing up.
- Driving while under the influence: Driving while under influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly dangerous because it impairs your judgment and reaction time. An impaired driver may even reverse their vehicle by mistake by changing gears incorrectly.
- Driving while fatigued: Driving while tired can also affect a person’s judgment and reaction time, which may cause a backover accident.
In addition to a driver being liable for a backover accident, a property owner could be partially or fully at fault. For example, if a driveway has a blocked view of a sidewalk or another area with foot traffic, the driver behind the wheel may fail to spot pedestrians.
A pedestrian could also share partial blame if their actions contributed to the accident. For example, if they were intoxicated at the time of the backover accident which caused them to step out in front of the reversing vehicle, they may share a percentage of the blame. In this instance, the driver may bear 60% of the liability while the pedestrian shares 40% of the blame.
California uses a pure comparative fault system, so the pedestrian’s percentage of the blame will reduce the amount they can recover. For instance, if their damages are worth $10,000, the amount they can recover will be reduced by 40% because they were declared 40% liable. They will only be able to recover $6,000
Preventing Backover Accidents
Fortunately, there are immediate steps you can take to avoid backup accidents including:
- Inspect your surroundings before getting into your car.
- Back up with extra caution and be prepared to make sudden stops.
- Install a rearview camera if your vehicle didn’t come with one.
- In addition to using your rearview camera, also look behind you to ensure you don’t back over a pedestrian or cyclist.
- Turn off your radio and avoid other distractions while backing up.
In addition to these tips for avoiding a backover accident, you can also adopt practices to keep your children safe from these tragedies. You can teach them from a young age to avoid standing behind a parked car and also make sure they’re under adult supervision when you’re away.
Recovering Compensation After a Backover Accident
Backover accidents can result in a variety of devastating or even fatal injuries. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a backover accident or another type of car accident, you can hold the liable party responsible for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
For legal assistance in backover accidents in the San Francisco area, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. Call us today at 877-380-8852, or you can schedule a free case evaluation online.