When you think of a driveway, you don’t often associate it with personal injury, and you may not even think of it as a dangerous place in general. However, accidents in the driveway are more common than you might imagine. In the U.S. alone, at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week, many of which are victims in between 12-23 months old. Unfortunately, 70 percent of these accidents happen while a parent or close relative is behind the wheel.
When it comes to injuries in the driveway, a personal injury lawyer will tell you that there are two common forms of these accidents: Injuries from incidents which involve backing over or hitting a child with the vehicle, and incidents which involve the child shifting an idle vehicle into gear. Here is how liability works when it comes to injuries in the driveway.
The way that fault is determined comes down to some important determining factors. In many cases, the person driving is usually held responsible for any injuries the child may succumb in the accident. In these cases, a personal injury lawyer will look into the case to see if the driver’s negligence was the primary cause of the accident.
There are some more serious cases in which a child may end up being killed as a result of the accident. Over 60 percent of backing up incidents involve a large vehicle such as a truck, van or SUV; these vehicles can easily weigh over 4,000 pounds which makes the chances of survival dim. A personal injury lawyer may look to see if the person responsible will face criminal charges, and if this is the case, the charges can range from reckless endangerment to involuntary manslaughter.
There are other cases in which the vehicle manufacturer may be held liable for a child’s injuries. For example, most modern vehicles come equipped with backup technology such as cameras and sensors that automatically stop the vehicle if something is in the way. If the technology in one of these vehicles fails to detect the child and results in an injury, a personal injury lawyer can investigate the case and hold the manufacturer responsible. However, if the vehicle owner knew about the malfunction and failed to act, the owner may still be held responsible.
The best way to avoid these terrible accidents is to stay aware of your surroundings. Always check around your vehicle and make sure your kids are out of the way before moving your vehicle. It’s also important to make sure you never leave your kids in the car while it’s idling¾children aren’t always aware of consequences and leaving them unattended in an idling car can lead them to shift the car into gear and hit your home, another vehicle, or worse, another person or relative.
If your child has been injured in a driveway accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer here at Robert J. DeBry and Associates. We will look into your case and help you get the compensation that you deserve for your child’s injuries.