The start of a new school year is filled with new backpacks, new friends, and new adventures.
But it also means more kids on the road, either walking or biking to school – and that means a greater potential for backover accidents.
What is a Backover Accident?
A backover accident occurs when the driver of a vehicle “backs over” a child, usually when pulling out of a driveway or parking space. An estimated 49.5% of nontraffic deaths involving children ages 15 and under are the result of backover accidents.
And it is easy to understand why. Even the most cautious driver can miss a small child who darts into the blind zone” behind the back of a vehicle, especially if the vehicle is a large SUV or minivan. Blind zones can range from 7 – 8 feet wide and 20 – 30 feet long, depending on the type of vehicle, the height of the driver and the height of the child, making it virtually impossible to see that a child has run behind the back of the vehicle.
Despite their prevalence, backover accidents are one of the most preventable types of vehicle accident. Experts recommended taking the following steps to reduce the chance that you or your children are involved in a backover accident:
- Walk around the vehicle before getting in and pulling out, to ensure that no children are playing near the car;
- Adjust the height of the driver’s seat, as well as the rear and side view mirrors, to ensure maximum visibility;
- Install a backup camera and/or keep your windows open so you can see and hear children who may be playing near the car;
- Install a backup alarm that beeps to alert anybody behind that vehicle that it is in motion; and
- Teach your children to not play around cars.
Wrongful Death for Backover Accidents
If your child was injured or killed as a result of a backover accident, you may have a wrongful death or negligence claim against the driver. In order to recover under a wrongful death action, the plaintiff (in this case the parent) must be able to prove that the child’s death was the result of the driver’s wrongful or negligent act. For a negligence claim, you must be able to prove that the driver of the vehicle was at fault. Even if your child was partly to blame (called comparative negligence – for example, he tried to run past the vehicle as it was backing up), you may still be able to recover damages.
With more than 60 years of combined experience handling wrongful death and vehicle accident claims, the Appel Law Firm is the Bay Area’s premier motor vehicle accident law firm. Emotions run high in these types of cases. The Appel Law Firm has the experience and understanding to cut through the emotion and help you determine whether you have a claim. Conveniently located near the Walnut Creek BART station, we can help. Contact our office today at 888-527-0674, or send us a message via our online web form, to schedule your free consultation.