It may seem impossible that a car traveling backward can do just as much damage as a vehicle in a head-on collision. However, victims of back-up or back-over crashes know all too well how devastating these collisions can be. If you or your child has been hurt in a back-over crash, you need to understand the causes and potential recoveries in these accidents to protect your right to recovery.
Likely Victims of Cars Going in Reverse
The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimate that up to 300 people are killed each year and 18,000 more are injured as a result of being hit by someone driving in reverse. While these accidents occur at relatively low speeds, they can still prove deadly to a variety of victims, including:
- Pedestrians. Although backup crashes are possible any time a vehicle is in reverse gear, they are most common in driveways and parking lots. Skateboarders, rollerbladers, and pedestrians are often struck while crossing behind parked cars that suddenly begin to reverse.
- Bicyclists. Cyclists may be struck in the bike lane or on city sidewalks by cars barreling out of driveways and parking structures.
- Children. The majority of reverse crash victims are young children. Children on foot or on bikes may be too short to be seen in a driver’s mirrors, and a motorist may back over a child completely before he or she realizes an accident has occurred.
- Older adults. People over the age of 70 may be more at risk of causing these accidents as well as being injured by them. Senior drivers are less likely to have the mobility to perform over-the-shoulder traffic checks, while those on foot may not have the awareness or reaction time to avoid a collision with a reversing vehicle.
- Other road users. Anyone who is in the path of a reversing vehicle has the potential for injury, including motorcyclists, delivery vehicles, and other drivers.
Who May Be Liable for a Back-Over Accident?
Insurers may attempt to argue that the victim was at least partially negligent in causing his or her injuries, leaving the victim to prove that the driver was at fault. A thorough investigation can not only determine the cause of the collision, but can compensate the injured party for past, current, and future medical expenses and lost income.
While drivers are commonly the negligent parties in back-over crashes, other parties may be liable as well. Potential liable parties in a back-over accident may include:
- Drivers. Drivers are the first line of defense in back-over accidents, and their responsibility goes beyond simply checking their mirrors. A driver who is distracted, fails to check blind spots, or accelerates too quickly out of a parking space may be held responsible for the injuries he or she caused.
- Car manufacturers. Faulty brakes or acceleration systems may prevent the driver from stopping in time to prevent a crash, while poor vehicle design can make blind spots unreasonably large and dangerous to those surrounding the vehicle.
- Property owners. A property owner may be liable for a back-over accident if the parking lot was badly designed or constructed, such as if there are tight corners, crowded parking spaces, or walkways that run side-by-side with vehicle travel lanes.
- Municipalities. A city government may share responsibility if the driver failed to see a victim because the view was obstructed by overgrown bushes or did not have proper lighting.
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