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What is a Backover Accident?

A backover (or backing-up) accident is a type of traffic accident caused by a vehicle reversing and colliding with something else, such as a person or another car.

Learn everything you need to know about backover accidents: how and when they occur, how severe backover accident injuries are, and what to do if you were struck and injured by a reversing driver.

Backover Accident Statistics

Between 2008 and 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitored a specific category of automobile accidents called non-traffic or not-in-traffic crashes. The NHTSA classifies backover accidents as a type of non-traffic crash.

Over the study’s four-year period, the organization determined that, on average, backover accidents cause 232 fatalities (37% of all non-traffic fatalities) and 13,000 injuries (41% of all non-traffic injuries) annually.

How Backover Accidents Happen

Backover accidents typically occur in urban areas, parking spaces, and other environments where cars frequently need reversing (e.g., school zones).

Backover accidents can be categorized into two types:

  • The vehicle colliding with a person or another object stops immediately after the impact. This type of backover collision is the most common. While still dangerous, this situation is the least likely to result in serious injuries or death.
  • In other incidents, the backing vehicle does not stop, even after the initial impact. This backover incident is significantly more likely to cause persons and objects to be dragged or run over by the backing vehicle, increasing the lethality of the injuries sustained.

Blind Spots Are a Factor in Backover Accidents

Regardless of the vehicle’s design, all passenger cars and light trucks have partial blind spots to the rear. Even when properly looking behind to check for oncoming traffic and pedestrians, some people may remain out of view due to their height, location, or posture.

Examples include children, shorter adults, individuals lacking the physical ability to move away quickly (e.g., older or disabled people), cyclists approaching from a blind spot, or simply people sitting, kneeling, or bending down behind the vehicle.

How Severe Are Backover Accident Injuries?

Due to the relatively low top speed of a car’s reverse gear, most backover impacts are similar to other low-speed collisions.

However, backover accidents typically occur due to the driver’s inability to see or react in time, so the driver may fail to use the brakes until it’s too late. This can potentially result in more severe impacts than frontal or lateral collisions.

Thus, the injuries a pedestrian can sustain due to a backing driver are more lethal, with a greater risk of death or life-threatening injuries.

According to statistics compiled by the Kids and Car Safety organization, young children (aged 12 to 23 months) are at a heightened risk of injury. Every week, around 50 children are victims of backover accidents in the United States, with at least 2 of those being fatalities.

Who Is At Fault in a Backover Accident?

In most instances, a backover accident results from a driver’s inattention or negligent behavior, such as relying on the rear-view mirror instead of direct observation.

However, in some circumstances, a backover accident can be the fault of multiple entities. For example, a poorly-designed parking garage or a driveway with visual obstructions can also place the liability on property owners.

Wisconsin laws employ a contributory negligence system (895.045) to determine the degree of responsibility of each at-fault party and the damages they are entitled to receive. Under Wisconsin’s system, a person found to be at least 51% at fault in a backover accident is barred from seeking compensation from the other party.

Our team of skilled Green Bay car accident lawyers can review the facts and determine which parties are at fault and to what percentage, ensuring you get maximum compensation.

Contact Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Review

If you were injured by a backing driver or a loved one has been injured or killed in a backover accident, Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help. Our experienced Wisconsin personal injury lawyers have the skills and expertise to build a strong claim, protect your rights, and fight on your behalf.

Our law firm has decades of experience handling motor vehicle accidents and winning successful verdicts for our clients. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review if you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury.

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