Florida Driveway Accidents
Although many people consider their driveways to be a safe zone, as traffic will typically be slow-moving and take the form of either backing out or pulling into the yard, the reality is that driveways can be extremely dangerous. In fact, driveway accidents occur at an alarming rate across the country and even more tragically, almost always involve small children who are at a much higher risk of sustaining fatal injuries. Handling these kinds of claims can be emotionally difficult, as well as legally complex, so if you or your child were injured in a driveway accident and you have questions about your legal options, it is important to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer who can advise you.
How Driveway Accidents Occur
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, driveway accidents resulting in injuries to a child usually involve:
- A child being struck by a vehicle operated by an adult; or
- A child shifting an idle vehicle into gear.
Backover accidents are a particularly common form of driveway accident and occur when a driver is backing out of a driveway and fails to observe someone (usually a child) standing behind the vehicle. Although adults are aware of the dangers of standing near a moving vehicle, young children who are mobile are still not often able to appreciate the danger of these situations. Children are also more difficult to see, whether in front of the hood or behind the trunk, because of their small size, an issue that is only compounded by the fact that around 60 percent of backover accidents involve a large vehicle like a van, truck, or SUV.
Who is Liable for Driveway Accidents?
Some driveway accidents, especially those involving children, could not have been avoided by the driver because the child suddenly darted out behind the car. In other cases, however, it could be the driver who failed to use reasonable care by checking his or her mirrors. While rear backup cameras and sensors do play an important role in reducing the chance of a driveway accident, they are by no means a guarantee, making it especially important for drivers to keep a lookout for young children when driving.
Ultimately, whether a driver can be held liable for a driveway crash depends on the specific circumstances of a case. In some cases, more than one person or entity could even be held responsible for an accident, each of whom would be required to compensate the victim for their own contribution to the accident. If, for instance, a driver who struck a child was backing out of someone else’s driveway, both the driver and even the homeowner could be held partially liable for any resulting injuries. Alternatively, the malfunctioning of a crash avoidance system could open up a vehicle manufacturer to liability as well.
Courts don’t typically weigh the reasonableness of a child’s actions in the same way that they do for adults when making these determinations, not only because the child is less mature and has less experience, but because it is drivers who owe a duty to other motorists and pedestrians.
A Free Legal Consultation
If your child was recently injured in a driveway accident, please call 954-566-9919 today to speak with one of the dedicated auto accident lawyers at Boone & Davis about your legal options going forward.