Damages from backing into a car?

by Cindy
(San Jose, CA)

I was backing my van out of a parking spot, when I felt myself hit another car. I pulled back into my spot, took a few deep breaths, and got out of my van to see the other people getting out of their car.

My insurance is finding me at fault, because the other people are saying they were sitting in their parked car when I hit them, and their car was in the parking spot, but so was mine when I got out to see what happened. When I went over to exchange information, they were getting out of their car.

At this point, I am wondering if they may have also been backing out, since I had not backed out far when I hit them? Is there any way you can tell who is at fault by the damages to the vehicles? Since I have the larger vehicle, I don't know if a fair assessment can be made.

My insurance adjuster says she will find me at fault pending pictures of damages, because she says she can determine fault by the pictures. Do you know what she is looking for? Any information about this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Damages from backing into a car?":

Cindy (San Jose, CA):

It is true insurance claims adjusters can tell who was at fault just by looking at photos of the damage. Most adjusters receive ongoing training, including ways to identify fault based on the location of property damage.

For example, if the damage to your car was on the right rear bumper and the damage to the other car was located on any part of his or her rear bumper, then it would be relatively clear your car struck the other car while it was parked.

In the alternative, if the damage to your car was at the same spot, but the damage to the other driver's car was on the rear right quarter panel, then it would have been likely the other driver had already backed out of the space and was about to go forward.

Because identifying fault based on photographs is not a perfect science, you shouldn't hesitate to continue to take the position you were not at fault.

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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