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Driveway Accidents: Who's Liable When Kids Get Injured?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

We tend not to think of driveways as unsafe spaces. After all, our cars are generally already parked at home, or pulling in or backing out slowly (hopefully), so our driveways rarely feel like danger zones.

But recent studies have shown that driveway accidents are sadly all-too-common, often targeting younger children and can be fatal. And in a tragic twist, the vast majority of children are injured with their parent or a close relative behind the wheel. So what do these accidents look like? And who might be liable for children's injuries sustained in driveway accidents?

Driveway Dangers for Children

Driveway accidents involving injuries to children often take one of two forms, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

  1. Injuries resulting from a vehicle driven by an adult driver striking a child, like backovers; and
  2. Injuries resulting from a child shifting an idle vehicle out of or into gear.

An NCBI study found that younger children are more severely injured in driveway accidents, and that most accidents involve a truck or sport-utility vehicle going in reverse.

Other research has shown that at least fifty American children are backed over by vehicles every week, and that predominant age of those victims is less than 24 months old.

Driveway Liability

While someone involved in a driveway accident might be opening themselves up for a lawsuit, the person behind the wheel might not be the only person responsible, and he or she might not just be facing a personal injury lawsuit.

Drivers are generally held liable for backover accidents, but the automobile owner or the home owner can also be found liable. If a vehicle is equipped with a backup technology like a camera or sensors, and that technology failed to detect the child, the auto maker or component manufacturer could face a product liability suit, and homeowners that fail to address dangerous conditions could be looking at a premises liability lawsuit.

And given the circumstances of the case, a driver or other party involved in a driveway accident might be criminally liable as well. Criminal charges for reckless endangerment, vehicular assault, and, god forbid, involuntary manslaughter could follow a driveway accident.

If a loved one has been injured in a driveway accident, or you're worried about litigation stemming from a driveway accident on your property, contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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