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What Are Backover Accidents And Could The At-fault Driver Have Prevented It?

Jul 5, 2020 | Car Accidents

Nearly 60,000 accidents and 500 fatalities happen each year in garages and parking lots as per data collected by the National Safety Council. Cars and other vehicles have blind spots which can make bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and other automobiles almost invisible to a careless driver that forgot to check their immediate surroundings before backing up.

Understanding Backover Accidents

Backover accidents take place when a truck, car or SUV strikes a non-occupant such as a bicyclist, pedestrian or another car while backing up. Almost 60% backover accidents involve vans, trucks, SUVs and other large sized vehicles with significant blind spots or large areas immediately behind the vehicle which is unseen by the driver.

The primary concern for a new driver is to check their surroundings. Unfortunately, as we get older we become overconfident in our driving abilities and fail to check blind spots or surroundings adequately.

There are more than 18,000 backover accidents resulting in injuries each year as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Out of these, nearly 3,000 result in incapacitating injuries. Children below the age of 5 are at a particular risk of not being seen by drivers owing to their small stature.

New York Drivers’ Duty While Backing Up

Backing up accidents can cause severe injuries and even death. This is especially true when the person injured is a bicyclist, unprotected pedestrian or a motorcyclist. Owing to the serious nature of these accidents, Section 1211 of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that no driver will back their vehicle without checking their surrounding and establishing that their movement does not interfere with traffic.

It constitutes to negligence when a driver fails to adequately check their surroundings before backing up. This means that drivers in a backover accident can be held legally liable for all damages and injuries as a direct result of the accident if they failed to ensure that the path was clear.

You may be entitled to recover compensation if you or a loved one was injured by a truck, car or SUV that backed into you.

Backing Up Accident Causes

The primary cause of backover accidents is a driver not seeing the other person because they are essentially in the blind spot. This refers to the area right behind the vehicle which is unseen by the driver through the back window, rearview mirrors or side mirrors.

Large vehicles like vans and SUVs tend to have larger blind spots. This necessitates drivers to be extra cautious when driving in reverse. Backup cameras are certainly helpful. But, the drivers still need to carefully ensure that the path is clear for them to safely reverse.

Another cause of backing up accidents is failure to ensure that no one is moving behind the vehicle. This is quite common in parking lots which see a lot of pedestrian traffic walking directly in the path of drivers who are backing up. 

Drivers must make it a habit to carefully look in all directions before hitting reverse. They should never rush into backing up. Instead, should move cautiously and slowly to prevent an accident.

On an average 18,000 injuries and 290 deaths occur each year in the country because of backover accidents as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Most victims are under 5 years old or above 70 years of age. Majority of backover accidents take place in residential driveways and parking lots. Additionally, bicyclists and pedestrians are the most frequent backover accidents victims.

Backover Accidents Cause Crippling Injuries in Children

Unfortunately, most drivers that hit a child while backing up barely realize they have struck someone. Majority of children that get hit are generally not tall or bulky enough for drivers to see in the rear view or side mirrors. The child falls after being struck and the automobile continues to move.

Children that get knocked to the cement or asphalt suffer deadly and debilitating head injuries and fractures. Many even get dragged by the car if a piece of their clothing or body part gets caught in some part of the vehicle.

Children can easily get crushed and rolled over by the vehicle if it moves after striking them. The sad part is that most parents and their relatives cannot recover from the guilt consuming them for the rest of their lives.

How can Backover Accidents Be Prevented?

Backing up car accidents usually occur in residential areas and parking lots where children and adults walk close to the back of a vehicle. They are almost always preventable and failure to do so can result in serious and fatal injuries. Everyone has a part in preventing and reducing backover accidents. This includes the driver, car manufacturer, government, and people using the sidewalks and roads.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made it mandatory for all new vehicles to be equipped with a rearview video system (RVS) and other life-saving technologies.

Backover accidents, in addition to driver assistance technology, can also be prevented by the following:

  • Driver caution: It is imperative that drivers always look behind them, check their mirrors, and pay special attention to blind spots before backing up. Reversing slowly and being cautious can go a long way in reducing the chance of hitting someone or something.
  • Bicyclist and pedestrian precaution: Bicyclists and pedestrians should be aware of where they are heading. They should look out for cars and drivers that may not be able to see them. This is especially important when approaching a steep incline, in a residential area, and while on the roadway. It is always better to be cautious than erroneously assume that the other driver will see you. This is true even when you have the right of way.
  • Children education: Because children are at a particularly high risk of being injured in backover accidents, it is imperative that they be taught good practices. Accidents involving children can be prevented by teaching them not to play around cars. However, educating children can only go so far. Adults should keep an eye on their children when they are playing in the yard or near other cars. They should also hold their hands when walking in a parking lot.
  • Driver assistance tech: A lot of accidents can be prevented with the help of backup sensors and mirrors. Using these safety devices in combination with adequate awareness of surroundings and driver caution can help prevent backover accidents.

Prevention of Backing Out Accidents with Driver Assistance Technology

The number of backover accidents can be greatly reduced with the help of driver assistance technology because they allow drivers to be better aware of their surroundings. Few technologies can even sound an alarm or a warning so as to avoid accidents. All new vehicles are mandated to come with such devices for increased road safety.

Technology that aids drivers to avoid backing out accidents includes:

  • Rear Automatic Braking: These systems help engage the automobile’s brakes to avoid colliding with another person, object, or animal behind the vehicle.
  • Backup Camera/Rearview Video System: These provide drivers with a clear rear view of the vehicle. It is easy to see a person, object, or animal behind the vehicle.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: This system sounds an alarm to warn the driver when it senses a potential collision with any object or car that doesn’t fall within the view of the backup camera.

It is important to understand that having just driver assistance technology is not enough and you cannot replace it for driver caution. Even if your car is equipped with all these technologies, you still need to check your surroundings and be careful of all blind spots prior to backing up. The few extra seconds it takes to do this could be the difference between life and death.

You may be entitled to compensation if you or your loved one suffered injuries because a driver did not exercise caution while backing out.

Consult With an Experienced Backover Accident Attorney Today

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP in New York we have the experience of representing victims of a broad range of accidents, including bus, truck, car, and motorcycle crash. Our dedicated litigators are aware that when it comes to backover accidents, there are a multitude of sensitive and devastating factors that need to be addressed. Sadly, most victims that fall prey to these tragic accidents are small children.

All our backing up accident lawyers have required experience and background to successfully prosecute your case from the start through the matter’s conclusion, whether it is arbitration, mediation, settlement or verdict.

Additional court proceeding called ‘infant compromise’ is initiated when the victim of a backing up accident is a child. This requires a certain level of preparation to increase the likelihood of the Judge approving settlement if the case gets resolved without going to trial. The attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have resolved a wide variety of such lawsuits over the years.

Give us a call today at (347) 504-1246 for a free consultation with one of our esteemed and qualified attorneys.