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Backovers & Backing Up Car Accidents

Each year, close to 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries result from collisions caused by a vehicle backing up, a backover or backing crash, according to a report issued by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When a vehicle backs up in reverse, whether in a driveway, parking lot, or elsewhere, there is always a risk of danger for pedestrians and others outside or nearby the reversing vehicle. The risk of a backover is especially high for children under age 5 and the elderly. With the potential for such hazard, drivers have an obligation to take all necessary precautions when they put a vehicle into reverse and make this sometimes-precarious maneuver. As a Rhode Island car accident lawyer with over 20 years of experience, Attorney David Tapalian has helped hundreds of victims of car accidents in RI and MA recover compensation after they are hurt by a negligent driver. If a motorist is reckless and fails to take safety measures when backing up their vehicle, they made be held responsible for the injuries and damage to the victim(s) that resulted including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Backing Up Laws in Rhode Island

Rhode Island General Law has specific restrictions and rules on how a driver should back up properly. RI General Law § 31-22-2. Restrictions on backing, states that a driver "shall not back the vehicle unless the movement can be made with reasonable safety and without interfering with other traffic." When a driver is shown to have backed out recklessly and caused an accident by doing so or harmed another, they are subject to fines and legal action against them from the victim or victims. If you are a loved one are hurt by a car backing up, a highly respected and top-rated Rhode Island car accident attorney like David Tapalian can help you navigate the process of filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to seek rightful compensation for your losses.

Backover Accidents

Both backover car accidents and backing crashes involve, as their names describe, damage caused by a vehicle backing up in reverse. A crash that occurs when a driver backs up in reverse hitting a person, such as a pedestrian or bicyclist, is referred to as a backover accident. Backovers are extremely dangerous and can result in serious or fatal injuries, especially when the victim is a small child or senior citizen. In February 2020, an 80-year-old woman was fatally struck as a car backed out of a driveway in Middletown, Massachusetts. The driver's negligence resulted in a preventable tragedy that claimed a life and injured another pedestrian. When a deadly accident occurs caused by a car or truck backing up negligently, a car accident attorney can help the family of the deceased navigate the difficult aftermath of the incident and initiate the legal proceedings of a wrongful death claim in Rhode Island. The skilled personal injury team at Tapalian Law has the expertise to help victims and their families receive compensation for their pain and suffering and the costs associated with death and injuries.

Children & Elderly at Highest Risk of Backover Accidents

Young children and the senior population are the most vulnerable victims, and are at highest risk, for being injured or killed by a car, truck, or SUV backing up; specifically, toddlers under 24 months and adults age 70 and older. Even for an attentive motorist, it is more difficult to see a young child behind a car due to their shorter stature. Kids are also less aware of the danger of standing or playing behind a vehicle. For an elderly person, they may see a car or truck backing up but are not able to move out of the way quickly enough, making them more at risk of getting hit. When a loved one is injured or killed by a car or truck backing up, its critical to seek the legal opinion of a car accident lawyer in Rhode Island to determine your eligibility to file a RI personal injury claim or wrongful death claim against the reckless driver.

Tragically, in 70% of backover incidents involving children, a parent or close relative is the driver behind the wheel and in many instances, the incident takes place in a driveway where the child was playing behind the vehicle or unknowingly ran out to say goodbye to a parent or loved one and the driver did not see them. According to a report by KidsAndCars.org, Rhode Island reported 2 backover fatalities to children under age 14 from 1990-2018 and Massachusetts reported 8 backover deaths to the same age group during the same time period.

The great majority of back over crashes involve passenger vehicles, which include cars, pickup trucks, SUV's, and vans. As the popularity of larger vehicles has increased over the years, so has the number of backovers involving specifically SUV's, vans, and trucks. Despite technology like rear view cameras, blind spots and blind zones still exist around vehicles where drivers can't see and human error and distractions still occur.

Backing Crashes

Back up accidents not involving a person, such as a driver backing up in their driveway and hitting a tree, or a car backing up into another car in a parking lot, are referred to as "backing crashes". A collision caused by backing up can, however, result in serious property damage. Even if no bodily harm occurs, the at-fault driver can be held responsible for the cost of fixing the damages or replacing the damaged property and advice from a car accident attorney in Rhode Island should be sought. For instance, if your neighbor backs up into your mailbox, they may be responsible for covering the cost of fixing the damage, or the cost of replacing the mailbox.

Whether you are seriously hurt by a car, truck, or SUV backing up, or you sustain extensive property damage, its critical to seek proper legal help to hold the at-fault driver accountable and seek restitution for their losses. Attorney David Tapalian has been helping victims of car accidents throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts for over 20 years and will fight aggressively for your legal rights seeking maximum compensation for your wrongful personal injury and/or property damages caused by a backover or backing up accident.

Preventing Backover & Backing Up Car Accidents

While there are measures that a driver can take to back up as safely as possible, as well as a number of safety tips for drivers, pedestrians, and parents, to help prevent these tragic incidents from occurring, the risk of a backing up car accident occurring is never completely gone. Effective May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required back up cameras on all newly manufactured vehicles. Some vehicles are also equipped with monitoring systems to alert drivers of vehicles in their blind spot; however, some systems may not detect smaller objects or people. There are also ways to add safety features to older model vehicles. While the latest technology certainly goes a long way in increasing the driver's visibility of physical obstacles behind the car, whether it be a mailbox, dog, or bicyclist, drivers should not rely solely on technology. It is recommended drivers still use rear view mirrors and look over their shoulder before backing up.

Seek Legal Help After a Car Accident in RI or MA

If you or a loved one have been hurt in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, the most important thing to do is seek immediate medical attention. Do not delay seeking medical help. Then, contact Tapalian Law for a free consultation of your accident claim to see how we can support you in seeking compensation for your losses. Whether a car backs into your vehicle, or you are struck by a vehicle backing up as a pedestrian, our skilled personal injury lawyers can help. Contact our Providence RI injury accident team at 401-552-5000, or reach us online, to schedule a free consultation at our Providence, RI, Warwick, RI, or Seekonk, MA offices. At Tapalian Law, we are available 24/7 to assist you.

Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.