Almost fully backed out of parking space when hit...

by Nat
(Maryland)

I was backing out of a parking space in a parking lot, and turned my wheel to the right so I could exit to the left. I was parked about 5 spots into the aisle. To my right there were about maybe 15 to 20 spots. I checked my surroundings manually before lifting my foot off the brake to let the car roll backwards. I also have reverse cameras in my vehicle.

Nothing was obstructing me from reversing. I backed up my vehicle and was between 97 to 98% out of the parking space, obstructing traffic from getting by me coming in either direction. So any vehicle would either have to wait for me to move or try to squeeze by me.

I was stopped and in process of putting my car in drive and was hit by an SUV on the passenger side of my vehicle toward my back bumper. My car was hit with such force that my airbags deployed. I have no dents on my car, nor does the other vehicle have any dents just drag marks from the passenger side front door to the middle of the passenger back door.

On impact our vehicles were stuck together. The driver got out and asked me to move my car up back into the parking space, which I did not. So he proceeded to move his vehicle, which created the drag marks on his vehicle due to me not moving my vehicle. His SUV was in the oncoming traffic aisle, that was his reason for moving before the cops arrived.

My question is, if I was 98% out of the parking spot and stopped, who is at fault? Is the other driver responsible for repairing my car? What can be done? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Almost fully backed out of parking space when hit...":

Nat (Maryland):

The State of Maryland follows the Pure Contributory Negligence rule. Under this rule, if a victim is even 1% at fault for an accident, the victim is completely barred from recovering compensation from the other driver.

The pure contributory negligence defense has been criticized for being too harsh on victims, because the slightest amount of contributory negligence exhibited by the victim completely bars any recovery, no matter how egregious the other driver may have been. (In certain cases of extreme negligence or wanton disregard for safety this rule can be overcome, but it's difficult.)

In your case, a determination of fault will likely be made by the insurance companies. Unfortunately, you have little or no say over what your insurance company decides. If they decide you had no fault, they may deny a claim from the other driver for compensation for property damage.

Read more about Maryland’s Pure Contributory Negligence Rule here.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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