A Tragedy for Families: Backover Accidents From Vehicles and Machinery


A Florida child is recovering from an April accident after losing both feet when she was backed over by a family member in a lawnmower accident. Another family in Virginia still mourns their child who was run over two years ago by a contractor’s truck when the worker was providing work at the family home. Tragic news like this leaves families of small children wondering how they can prevent such incidents from happening to other families. While we might not hear about them in the news, backover accidents are common, and the Virginia mother is making it her mission in the fight for lawmakers to insist that rear view cameras are installed in all vehicles.

It’s hard enough to keep our small children in our view at all times. We teach them right from wrong. We teach them to look both ways when crossing the street. We tell them to stay away from large machinery. But, in their excitement to run after daddy in the car, they become distracted and don’t pay attention to what they’ve been told. They don’t think twice about running in front of a van or a moving vehicle. Worse yet, they don’t know the dangers of running behind a vehicle, staying out of the way of a vehicle backing out of a space in a parking lot, or moving away from a car backing out of a driveway?

In an effort to be proactive, some vehicle manufacturers are already installing sensors to their vehicles which will aid in the detection of a person or object behind the vehicle. Of course, this measure is only as good as the sensor if there is no talking in the car, or if the music isn’t playing at a high volume. But, adding sensors can be costly, and isn’t “looking over your shoulder and using rear view mirrors” part of Driving 101? Whose responsibility is it to make sure there’s nothing behind the car?

With the frequent distractions pulling our attention toward everything except driving, it makes sense to take extra measures when you know children are around. In the case of the Utah girl, she was running toward her dad who was riding a lawnmower. The mother waved her hands frantically to warn the father. He stopped the mower and reversed, thinking he was being warned about an obstacle ahead of the mower. His little girl was behind the tractor, and her ran over her feet. In the second situation, the contractor thought all kids were inside the home. While no one could have predicted either scenario, what are some common sense practices we can use when backing out of a parking space or garage?

  • Always use rearview and side mirrors and physically turn both ways to look behind you when backing up your vehicle.
  • When using equipment, make sure there are no children in the area. Ask parents if all children are accounted for.
  • If you have contractors working at your home, make sure they know you have small children and urge them to check the back of the vehicle before backing out. Better yet, keep all kids away from any areas undergoing repair.
  • If you can’t see your child before you back out of the driveway, don’t assume that the child is inside.

If your child has been injured as a result of a backover vehicle accident at your home, or at the home of another child, you will want to enlist the advice of an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases like this.

While the fight to install sensors in vehicles may be a long process, we can do our best in the meantime to ensure the safety of our children playing in and around our homes.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.