Parking Lot Motor Vehicle Accidents and Injuries Caused by Vehicles Backing Up
As I was walking in the parking lot of a mall this weekend in Clifton, I almost got hit by a car as the driver was rushing for a parking lot and I almost stepped off the sidewalk and into the space she was pulling into. I could have been more vigilant, but the driver was definitely going too fast. Many of my clients have not been so lucky and have sustained serious and permanent injuries after getting hit by a car, truck or SUV.
As an attorney in Jersey City who has handled more than a thousand auto accident cases, not just here in Jersey City, but also Union City, North Bergen, Hoboken, Bayonne and throughout the State of New Jersey, this incident has me reflecting on how many cases I have handled that occurred in parking lots. Some of the most serious of those were New Jersey cases where people were walking to their cars. I handled a case recently in which my client was hit by a SUV while walking in a parking lot in Jersey City. She needed three surgeries.
According to the National Highway Transportation Authority, children under 5 are at the highest risk for a backover incident, which is when a car or SUV backs up into them. Children experience a disproportionate amount of the severe and fatal pedestrian injuries. This is due to their height making them not visible to drivers, and that if they are hit, they are more likely to suffer a head injury or chest trauma than taller individuals. This is the primary reason that our government has mandated that auto manufacturers have to install back-up cameras as standard features in their vehicles.
Initially, it was supposed to be this year, but it has been pushed back to 2015. This law cannot be enacted soon enough, as they will save many children’s lives herein in New Jersey, and throughout the United States. Many of these backover injuries were the result of children knocking the car out of gear. The takeaway from this should be that as parents, we need to be vigilant of our own safety and that of our children when walking through parking lots and malls, such as Newport Center Mall in Jersey City, or Route 440 Mall in Jersey City or Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth. While these backover crashes involving vehicles striking pedestrians are considered to be the most serious type of accident that usually occurs when a vehicle backs up, there are many more crashes that occur in parking lots in New Jersey.