Backover accidents are accidents in which a driver is driving in reverse, usually out of a parking lot or driveway, and the car hits pedestrian, object, or another vehicle. The victims of these accidents almost always involve a pedestrian or bicyclist and occurs at a very low speed. SUVs and pickup trucks are the most common vehicles involved because of the size of their blind spots.
Common causes include:
- Vehicle blind spots
- Lack of backup alarms or backup cameras
- Inadequately checking before putting a car in reverse
- Failure to notice a pedestrian or a car when in reverse
Because so many of these incidents occur on private property, there is often no ticketing by police officers. The result is an underreporting of backover accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that backover incidents result in 183 deaths and somewhere between 6,700 and 7,419 injuries annually.Backover Accidents Disproportionately Affect Children
Thousands of children every year are seriously injured or killed as a result of backover accidents. In this country alone, fifty children are victims of backover accidents every week. Most of those injured are one-year-olds. In over 70% of incidents, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel of the car. Children are less able to notice this type of hazard and get out of the way in time. New technologies such as backup cameras and sensors are limited in their ability to detect small children.Backover Accidents are Also Common on Construction Sites
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that around 70 workers were fatality injured in backover accidents in 2011. The flow of people and vehicles are different on construction worksites than in regular driveways and parking lots. These environments may also be noisier, so drivers may not hear a backup alarm sounding off. At construction sites, drivers often ask for help from spotters, who may miss a car coming up from behind them when signaling to the driver. The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) has vehicle safety standards specifically for these types of accidents on construction sites.How to Prevent Backover Accidents
- Always look behind your vehicle before and as you back up your vehicle. Cars and pedestrians often come into view while you are in reverse that you may not have seen before.
- Drivers can ask those nearby to act as spotters to signal them out of their driveway or parking space. These spotters need to be extremely alert, as they are at a heightened risk of being hit by the car in reverse or other oncoming cars.
- Drivers can use rearview cameras, sensors, and alarms. These systems significantly reduce the risk of these types of accidents. Many cars on the market come equipped with these systems, but drivers can also install them in the vehicle they already drive.
Backover accidents are overwhelmingly a result of driver negligence. Property owners may be liable in some cases if a condition on the property contributed to the accident, such as bushes or fencing that hides certain areas from view. In any accident, a thorough investigation is needed to determine who is at fault.
We understand the sensitive nature of these accidents, and how difficult it can be when you accidentally hurt someone close to you. Our attorneys have experience dealing with all types of car accidents. Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We have an experienced team of backover accident attorneys ready to work on your case. The personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have two convenient locations – with offices located in Cambridge and Boston. We are empathetic to your unique situation and we have over 50 years of experience fighting on behalf of victims of all types of injuries. We are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.