Back Over / Lock in Injuries
Back over accidents and lock in injuries, horrible experiences for everyone involved, most always involve small children.
A back over accident occurs when a driver moving in reverse strikes a person at the rear of the vehicle. Lock in injuries occur when a child is either left in a car by a caregiver or accidently locks themselves inside a vehicle, often on a warm day. These incidents often result in life-threatening injuries, including heat stroke, internal organ damage, broken bones, traumatic brain injury and death.
These tragedies are preventable, and most often stem from negligence by a driver or caregiver. At The Law Offices of Richard Ansara, our compassionate Fort Lauderdale child injury lawyers work to hold accountable negligent parties and obtain available insurance benefits to cover the costs of medical care, funeral costs and more.
While certain technologies, such as rear view cameras and “smart car seats,” are helping to reduce the chances of back over accidents and lock in injuries, educating drivers, parents, caregivers and others of the potential risks – and prevention methods – is still the most effective tool.Statistics: Back Over Accidents
Researchers at kidsandcars.com report that every single week, 50 children in the U.S. are backed over because a driver failed to see them. Every year, that amounts to:
- 13,000 child injuries
- 232 child deaths
The average age of back over accident victims? Just 1-year-old. Children under 24 months are just beginning to walk and run. They are exploring their world. Testing their limits. Trying new things. And they don’t like being left behind! Safety experts refer to this as “Bye-Bye Syndrome.” That is, kids hear the words “bye-bye” and follow behind the person who is leaving – often without that person’s knowledge. The driver thinks the child is safely inside, but in fact, the child is behind the vehicle.
Approximately 70 percent of back over injuries occur when a parent or other relative is behind the wheel.
Our Fort Lauderdale lawyers believe that one of the biggest contributing issues is blind spots. Every single vehicle has them, and the average blind zone is 15 to 25 feet. The shorter the driver, the larger the blind spot. The same goes for larger vehicles, including trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans, which account for 60 percent of back over accidents.
The other issue is children do not understand the danger of vehicles, particularly if it’s slow moving. They assume if they see the vehicle, the driver sees them. Small children don’t understand boundaries recognized by drivers, such as:
- Property lines
- Parking spaces
Add to that their inherent impulsiveness and curiosity, and our attorneys know that it’s a very dangerous recipe.Statistics: Lock In Injuries
Lock in injuries occur when a child is left unattended in a vehicle. Usually, it’s a complete accident, wherein the adult forgets the child is there. Sometimes, the curious child gets inside the vehicle, but then can’t get out. In some situations, parents or caregivers may intentionally leave the child in the car, not realizing how incredibly dangerous it is to do so.
The problem is, closed vehicles heat up very quickly – as much as 30 degrees in just 15 minutes. In Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere in Florida, our lawyers have seen that the results can be especially devastating. If it’s 90 degrees outside, it’s going to shoot up to 120 degrees inside that car in that short time frame – about how long it takes to run in and grab some milk and bread from the grocery store. In those conditions, one’s core body temperature spikes from 98 degrees up to 105 degrees or more.
When someone’s temperature is that high, our see:
- Cell death
- Organ failure
- Permanent organ damage
Of the 637 children who died of vehicular heatstroke death between 1998 and 2014:
- 53 percent involved a child forgotten in the vehicle by a caregiver
- 29 percent involved children playing in the vehicle unattended
- 17 percent involved children left intentionally in vehicle by an adult
- 1 percent involved circumstances unknown
More than 50 percent of the kids who lost their lives due to lock in injuries during this time frame were under 2. More than 70 percent were under 3.
F.S. 316.6135 makes it illegal to leave a child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle. To do so – even with the vehicle running – could result in a second-degree misdemeanor. If the action results in great bodily harm, disability or death, it could be a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.