Backover accidents are some of the most preventable car accidents, and yet they happen far more often than they should. This type of accident is the result of a car moving in reverse and striking a bicyclist or pedestrian—and the most common victim is, tragically, children.
Here’s what you should know about backover accidents and how they happen, how to prevent these avoidable accidents, and what to do if you or your child have been injured in a backover incident.
How Backover Accidents Happen
Every vehicle has blind spots. Blind spots are locations that cannot be seen from the inside of the car, even if the driver uses the mirrors or performs a manual “swivel check” by turning his or her head to look for obstructions. There are blind spots to the left and right of every car and truck, but one that often gets missed is the blind spot directly in the rear, particularly for objects—or people—shorter than the rear window. If the driver is shorter than average or sitting too low in his or her seat, the rear blind spot becomes larger, as well. Failure to ensure that this blind spot is clear before moving in reverse is the most typical cause of backover accidents.
Since this blind spot is height-based, pets, elderly or disabled people in wheelchairs, and children are most at risk, but anybody can be hit in a backover accident if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, children are at particular risk, because a child who is young enough to fit entirely in the blind spot of a vehicle is most likely unable to be aware of the danger that a vehicle presents. Kids and Cars reports that children from ages 1-2 (12-23 months) face the most danger, as children in this age range have only just learned walking skills, but they haven’t yet learned boundaries.
Preventing Backover Accidents
One of the newest and best ways to reduce your chances of causing a backover accident is to use a backing camera in your vehicle. Some newer models of vehicles come with cameras that automatically engage when the car is put in reverse and display the image on the dashboard. But a new car isn’t necessary for a backing camera—aftermarket cameras can be purchased and added to almost any car for a surprisingly low cost given the peace of mind it can provide. Often there are backup sensors available that can be used alone or in conjunction with a camera that provide a warning sound when an obstruction is detected behind the vehicle, as well.
Another important key to preventing a backover is by being aware of your surroundings, especially if you know that there are children around, whether they’re your own or your neighbor’s. If there is a chance that young children could be present, walk around your vehicle to visually inspect what’s behind your car in the rear blind spot, and be aware of where your children are before you start moving your vehicle. Teach your own children never to play in the driveway behind cars, and enlist the help of your partner or another adult when you leave to ensure that the children are clear before you take off.
Be aware that children aren’t the only ones who get hurt by backover accidents. Drivers of large commercial vehicles, such as buses, construction vehicles, semis, cargo trucks, garbage trucks, and other big machines have huge blind spots to the rear. If you are aware that one of these heavy machines is near, whether you are in a car, on a bicycle, or on foot, you should take caution. These vehicles may back up suddenly and with little warning.
Get Legal Help Today
Ultimately, drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they operate their vehicles in a safe manner, including checking for obstructions behind the vehicle before they move. If you or your child have been injured in a negligent backup accident, there is a good chance that you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries or loss in a court of law. Consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation, and he or she will be able to present you with your legal options to move forward with your case.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have been protecting the rights of those who have been injured in tragic and preventable accidents for decades, and we would like to help you and your family begin the legal recovery process today. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional, call us by phone today, use our online contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.