Many children are struck by cars each year, and of these accidents, many of them are backover accidents that took place near the child’s home. A backover accident happens when a driver who is backing out of a space does not see someone behind the vehicle and runs over the victim. California has a high rate of backover accidents, and quite frequently, the driver who is behind the wheel of a large vehicle is a parent, a grandparent, or another relative. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our California car accident lawyers may be able to help you recover damages for a backover accident in which your child or you were hurt.
Bringing a Claim Based on a Backover Accident
The area around the back of a car is known as a blind zone because the driver is basically blind to any objects or people that are directly behind the vehicle. To respond to the issue of backover accidents, many SUVs now have cameras that allow the driver to see directly behind the car or backup sensors. However, not all cars have these cameras and sensors installed, and in some cases, drivers with this equipment still fail to take appropriate caution around children.
If your child was injured or killed in a backover accident caused by someone else, you may be able to recover damages. You will need to show the duty of the defendant driver, a breach, actual and legal causation, and actual damages. All drivers owe a duty to be careful when operating a car. Under California Vehicle Code section 22106, nobody is supposed to start a vehicle that is stopped, parked, or standing on a highway or back up in a car on a highway until they can do so with reasonable safety. Reasonable safety should include turning one’s head to check for kids, using the rearview mirror or camera, and going slowly to make sure that nobody darts out behind the vehicle. Every driver is supposed to use reasonable care to make sure that they are operating their vehicle safely, even when they are in their own driveway.
When a driver backs up quickly or without looking in the rearview camera, they may be breaching the duty to operate the vehicle carefully. In some cases, a driver fails to take appropriate care in or around a driveway because they are thinking about work, an errand, or something else. However, a moment’s inattention can result in catastrophic injuries or a fatality.
Damages that you may be able to recover for a child who has been injured include medical bills, therapy, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. When a child dies in a backover accident, you may also be able to recover funeral and burial expenses.
Comparative Negligence in Backover Accident Claims
Sometimes a parent is comparatively negligent (partially to blame) for a backover collision. For example, allowing a small child to play unsupervised near a driveway may be comparative negligence by a parent. While a parent’s negligence will not be imputed to a child if the child is injured in a backover accident in California, the parent’s negligence can be relevant to deciding which parties are responsible for the accident. It may also reduce the medical expenses that the parent may recover on behalf of the child.
If a parent’s comparative negligence contributes to a wrongful death, the result can be a reduction in what the parent can recover. The plaintiff parent may still be able to recover damages, but the total damages may be reduced by an amount equal to their degree of fault.