A car accident that occurs when a driver is backing up can have devastating consequences for everyone involved. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an estimated 292 people are killed each year by a driver who backs into them, and an additional 18,000 are injured.
Tragically, young children and elderly persons are the two most at-risk groups for being killed or injured by the driver of a vehicle that is backing up. As reported on a Backover Fact Sheet provided by KidsandCars.org, the predominant age of back-over victims is just 1-year-old, and children under the age of 5 are the most at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that was caused when a driver was backing up or reversing his or her car, you need to consult with a Long Island car accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your car accident claim.
The Hazards of Backing Up
Backing up without knowing what is behind you is an incredibly dangerous act. In addition to hitting a child or a pedestrian, which injures thousands of persons per year, a driver may also be at risk of hitting another object or oncoming traffic. These types of accidents can have tragic consequences. The injuries incurred by both the driver of the vehicle that is backing up, as well as any other parties involved, can have long-term implications, and may include traumatic brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, permanent scarring and disfigurement, broken bones, and more.
In addition to causing injury to a person, backing up without looking can also result in thousands of dollars of property damage to a vehicle, as well as any other property that is damaged in the collision.
The Benefits and Limitations of Backup Cameras
Many newer models of cars that are manufactured with built-in backup cameras, which provide drivers with an extra set of eyes. The benefits of backup cameras are obvious: in addition to allowing drivers to see what is directly behind them, many vehicles will also alert a driver if there is anything in the way that the driver is about to hit.
However, backup cameras are not completely foolproof, and one major mistake that many drivers make is to rely exclusively on their backup cameras when reversing. An article published by ABC News reminds drivers that backup cameras have limitations, and that a driver should always look behind their car before entering their vehicles. Further, drivers should continue to use rear and side-view mirrors as well. It is also important to understand that subzero temperatures may distort the effectiveness of backup cameras, and may become useless when weather is bad and cameras are covered in snow, dirt or slush. Always check the area behind your vehicle before entering it and backing up. Doing so can prevent a tragic accident.
Who Is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Backup Car Crash?
While backup car crashes may not be the most common accident type, they do happen with some frequency. When an accident such as this occurs, understanding who is liable for injuries is an important part of the recovery process.
In New York, the state implements a no-fault car insurance system, as explained by the New York Department of Financial Services. This means that when an accident occurs, a person should file their claim with the insurance company that covers the car in which they were an occupant at the time of collision. In other words, if another vehicle backs into your own vehicle, you are required under New York law in most circumstances to file an insurance claim with your own insurance, even though you were not at fault for the accident. Under New York’s no-fault insurance laws, you cannot file a lawsuit against the other driver unless you suffered “serious” injuries.
In the event that you were acting as a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or cyclist at the time of your collision, however, or if you sustained injuries that meet New York’s “serious injury” threshold, you are not required to file a claim through the no-fault system. Rather, you are allowed to sue from the first dollar lost. The definition of a serious injury in New York is found under Article 51 of New York’s Insurance Law. Essentially, a serious injury is one that causes death, fracture, serious disfigurement, lasting impairment, loss of fetus, loss of bodily function, or/and any other injury that prevents a person from performing his or her ordinary acts for a time period of no less than 90 days.
If a driver who was backing up has hit you and caused you injuries, and you are not obligated to file a claim within the at-fault system, you may consider filing a lawsuit. In order for your car accident lawsuit to be successful and yield the damages that you need to pay for your economic and non-economic losses, you will have to prove the negligence — failure to act with reasonable care — of the at-fault driver. You will also have to prove that your injuries would not have been incurred but for the negligent act. Finally, you must prove that actual damages (such as medical bills) resulted due to the accident.
How a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Filing an insurance claim after a car accident or filing a car accident lawsuit can be confusing. To improve your chances of recovering compensation that fully addresses the losses that you have suffered, it is important that you contact an experienced Long Island personal injury law firm.
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our passionate Long Island car accident lawyers will do everything possible to help you recover a fair settlement amount.
We understand that being involved in an accident of any type is tragic. Losing a loved one in a backup collision can be even more difficult to bear. When you or your family member is a victim of a backup accident, you need an attorney whom you can trust. For a free case consultation, contact our law firm online now or by calling us today.