A back-into crash, or a car accident while reversing, occurs when a driver going in reverse strikes or makes contact with something behind the vehicle. While the damage in a collision between two cars may be minimal, injuries can be severe if the backing car strikes an unprotected pedestrian. Since the driver in reverse may not realize that something is in the way until they hit it, they may not apply the brakes or take any action to avoid a collision.
Even at relatively low speeds, accidents caused by a driver going in reverse can be deadly. In a back-into crash, the car stops shortly after making contact with the victim. In back-over accidents, the vehicle continues to move after the impact, potentially running over a victim’s arm or leg or trapping them beneath the vehicle. Either type of collision is hazardous for the person behind the car, who could suffer severe or even fatal injuries.
Children Are the Most Common Victims of Back-Into Crashes
While bicyclists and pedestrians are occasionally struck by cars going in reverse, children under the age of two are the most common victims. As many as 50 children are backed over every week nationwide, often by members of their own families.
Causes of Back-Into Child injuries
- Duckling behavior. Children often instinctively follow behind adults or older kids and may stop suddenly without looking from side to side.
- Lack of boundaries. Young children have not learned to recognize physical boundaries (such as property lines or curbs) or process potential dangers.
- Height. Toddlers may not be tall enough to be visible in a rearview mirror or be protected by the car’s rear bumper.
- Slow reactions. Children who are just learning to walk don’t have the motor skills to move out of the way quickly and may not realize a car is coming until it’s too late.
How Do Back-Into Accidents Happen?
In most cases, the person in control of the car going in reverse is responsible for the accident. However, a victim could share liability for reckless behavior such as walking in traffic or lying down in a vehicle’s path. Under Massachusetts’ comparative negligence law, you could still get payment through a personal injury lawsuit if you are partially at fault, but your damages will be reduced.
Causes of Back-Into Collisions
- Driveways. A person walking down a neighborhood sidewalk may not see a car backing down the driveway due to a high fence, overgrown landscaping, or other obstruction.
- Parking lots. Parking lots have tight spaces and low visibility between vehicles, making them a common site of back-into crashes. People may quickly become lost in a vehicle’s blind spot, while young children may run out or dart between cars.
- Street parking. Children often play in and near city streets, so drivers parking at the side of the road should check around the vehicle before backing up.
- Older vehicles. Cars over ten years old are more likely to lack modern safety measures such as backup cameras and proximity sensors. Burned-out reverse lights or brake lights deprive people standing nearby of the warning that a car is backing up.
- Distractions. Drivers in a hurry, listening to loud music, or looking at their phones while backing up are likely to cause a back-into crash. A driver who wasn’t paying attention, didn’t have complete control of the vehicle, or wasn’t prepared to stop suddenly could be guilty of negligence.
Let Our Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Advise You
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries by a car going in reverse, the attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP are here to help. Please get in touch with us, or call 508-879-3500 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. You can also learn more about your rights in our free guide, What You Can Do to Get a Full and Fair Settlement After a Car Accident.