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

Backover Accidents in your Driveway – who’s responsible?

Car accidents do not just occur on the highway. Unfortunately, many accidents happen in driveways–and typically include small children. Backover accidents kill thousands of small children every year in the United States, when drivers fail to see a child near a car before they start moving.

But liability can depend on a number of factors. Depending on the circumstances, the driver, the homeowner, or even the vehicle manufacturer may be liable for injuries a child suffers.

Driver Liability

The most obvious source of liability for a driveway accident lies with the driver. Anyone driving a vehicle has a duty of care to those around him or her, and when a driver strikes a child in the driveway, he or she has clearly failed to meet that duty. Further, the possibility of a child playing around the vehicle should be a known risk. When accidents occur, liability begins with the driver who hit a child.

Homeowner Liability

While the driver may be the clearest liable person, the homeowner has duties of care as well. Some homes may have dangerous conditions that contribute to the accident: obstacles that block sightlines or ice in the driveway that causes the vehicle to slide. Most homeowner’s policies cover accidents that occur on the premises, and that liability coverage comes into play if the homeowner does not remedy conditions that contribute to the accident.

Vehicle Manufacturer Liability

Finally, if something goes wrong with the vehicle which contributes to the accident, the manufacturer can face liability as well. This of course depends on the circumstances; if the driver has not maintained his or her brakes, the manufacturer generally will not face liability for a brake failure. But if the vehicle is equipped with a rear camera or motion detector, and that device fails, the manufacturer may be partially liable for any accident that could have been avoided with properly-functioning equipment.

Driveway accidents can create liability from multiple sources. If your child has been injured in a driveway accident in the Madison, Wisconsin area, contact Eisenberg Law Offices for experienced representation.