Who Is Liable in a Driveway Accident Injury?
Is your driveway a safe place? If you are like most homeowners, you probably don’t give it much thought. We take for granted that we can pull in and out of our driveways without incident, assuming that an accident will occur on the open road.
The truth of the matter is that driveway accidents are fairly common. It may be because we are in a sort of autopilot as we are pulling in and out. It could be because we are finding the right radio station or finishing up that last bit of our grooming ritual while behind the wheel. No matter the cause, striking a child in the driveway is an avoidable accident that often results in serious injury.
Two Main Types of Injury
There are two injuries that occur most frequently, only one being when a child is struck. When it comes to driveway accidents, a child may be injured when they are struck or run over by a driver. This happens when the child is behind the vehicle and out of direct sight of the person driving. The person backs up and, if lucky, stops when they realize that they have hit something. In more dramatic events, the driver continues, backing over the child with the wheels of the vehicle.
The second type of injury occurs when a child is unsupervised and gets in the family’s vehicle. The child shifts the car in or out of gear, causing it to move forward or backward, The car may run into the home or into the street and be struck by another vehicle.
Studies have shown that young children are at the highest risk, and most accidents in driveways involve SUVs and trucks. Most children involved in these accidents are 24 months old or younger. Frightening statistics show that approximately 50 children throughout the country are backed over each week.
Who Is Liable?
The case of liability in these accidents is not always cut and dry. In many cases, the person driving the vehicle is held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, though, the manufacturer or the car or the homeowner could be held liable for negligence.
For instance, if the car is equipped with backup technology that fails, the manufacturer of the technology or of the vehicle itself could face a lawsuit. If the homeowners or vehicle owners were aware of the malfunction and failed to address it, they may be held liable as well.
In the worst cases, those in which a child is killed, the driver of the vehicle may also face criminal charges. The driver may be charged with reckless endangerment or, in more serious incidents, involuntary manslaughter. Taking safety for granted while in the driveway is a mistake. Always be aware of who or what is surrounding your vehicle. If you can’t see, get out and take a look.
If you or your child has been injured in a driveway accident, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and more. Reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation and discover your legal options.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.