Personal Injury Lawyers in Miami Representing the Rights of People Injured in Backing-Up Accidents
Accidents that happen while a driver is backing up generally happen because most people are not very good at backing up. It is not a natural process. The direction a driver turns the wheel to go a particular direction is the opposite of the direction you turn when you are going forward. Even with modern video cameras that activate when a person is backing up, giving the driver a view of what is directly behind his or her vehicle, accidents can happen.
Backing-up accidents, which are different than rear-end collisions, occur for many reasons. Most are related to either an inability to see what is behind the backing vehicle or a lack of attention to what is behind the vehicle. Such causes include:
- Insufficient clearance on the sides or top of the vehicle
- Objects directly behind the vehicle when the vehicle starts backing up
- Other vehicles moving into the way of the vehicle while it is backing up
- Objects or other vehicles in the backing vehicle’s blind spots
Backing-Up Accidents Make Up a Disproportionate Number of Car Accidents
Even though Americans drive millions of miles every year going forward, roughly 30 percent of all accidents happen when one of the vehicles involved – often the only vehicle moving – is going backward. These car accidents are almost always preventable, which means that people who are injured in back-up accidents can usually recover compensation. While back-up crashes do not always result in injuries, injuries do happen and are a considerable factor in the cost of backing accidents. To reduce backing accidents, there are steps you can take. But even though there are many precautions you can take when backing up, the only foolproof way to be sure you are not going to back up into a car in a parking lot, parking garage or other similar situation is to get out and look at the situation, or have someone else get out of the car and look for you. Most people never do that. Instead, they rely on their mirrors, their own over-the-shoulder looks, and, if they have them, the back-up video cameras in their cars. Naturally, at some point or another, all of those methods can fail, potentially resulting in a serious accident.
There are any number of scenarios that can cause a driver to back into something or someone. These include:
- Failing to look behind you when you start backing up
- Lack of mirrors (for whatever reason, including accident damage) or improperly designed mirrors that do not provide an adequate view of what is behind you, or improperly mounted or positioned mirrors
- Improperly adjusted mirrors
- Blind spots on your vehicle, which are most common on larger vehicles
- Objects that block your view, such as signs, vegetation, or other vehicles
- Turning while backing up, which can be a problem when towing a trailer, boat, or something else that can obstruct your view.
Backing accidents are easily avoided through vigilance, even if that requires something inconvenient like getting out of your car and checking the area behind your vehicle so you can back up safely. Fortunately, most backing accidents don’t result in injuries, and much of the resulting property damage is to the vehicle of the driver who is backing up.
Advice on how to avoid backing accidents is abundant. One organizations’ advice includes:
- Back up only when it is truly necessary
- When you have to back up, back the shortest distance possible
- Back up only in a straight line whenever possible
- When backing up, do so as slowly as possible.
- If you are not sure the way is clear, get out and look
That might seem to be a little overly cautious advice, but considering the potential consequences, maybe it isn’t.
A Backing-Up Accident is Almost Always the Backing Driver’s Fault
In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, if a driver is backing out of a parking space – or backing up for any other reason – that driver has a duty to yield to anyone driving past on the road or lane behind you. This makes backing accidents a type of failure to yield accident. Drivers almost never have the right of way when they are backing up, especially if they are backing out of a parking space.
There are more than 50 backing accidents every day that result in injuries to children, with nearly 5 percent of those accidents resulting in the child’s death. Sadly, nearly three-quarters of the time, a parent or relative is driving the backing vehicle involved in the accident. Fortunately, because these accidents are almost always the backing driver’s fault, victims can typically recover compensation for their injuries.
If You Have Been Involved in a Backing Accident, Contact a Miami Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a backing accident – whether you were the backing driver or you were injured by a vehicle that was backing up at the time – you should consult with a Miami accident attorney to determine what your options are to protect your rights. Even if you were the driver of the backing vehicle, it is possible you were not at fault. And if you were injured by someone negligently backing up a vehicle, you might be entitled to compensation. Depending upon the circumstances, you could be able to recover damages. Contact Flagler Personal Injury Group at (305) 424-8445 or through our online contact form. The lawyers of Flagler Personal Injury Group serve the greater Miami area.