Visitor Question

Driver backed into me while I was fully stopped, perpendicular to their car…

Submitted By: Ally (Upland, CA)

I was backing out of a spot in a store parking lot. I was 95% out, and I probably had enough space to pull forward and exit, but I wanted to back up a little more just to be sure. As I was checking, I was stopped and not moving. I saw that the car directly to my right (so, across from me when I was originally parked) was beginning to back out.

Still stopped, I honked. They didn’t stop. I kept honking and laid into the horn as they got closer. I panicked as I realized I wouldn’t have enough time to put my car into drive and go forward when I felt them hit me. I kept my car where it was, they pulled back into their spot – they hadn’t gotten very far.

I got out and took photos of the scene and the damage. A guy walking by told the lady her music was too loud because she couldn’t hear me honking my horn. She asked me if I had time to honk my horn, why didn’t I have time to get out of the way?

In the photos of the scene I took, you can see that my car is almost completely perpendicular to her parked car – I was almost fully straight in the lane when she backed into me. Her back bumper collided with the very back end of my passenger side.

I am almost certain this was her fault. Would my insurance company possibly find me in any way at fault for this, or raise my premiums? Does the other driver have to pay for my damage? If so, do I have to tell my insurance company, or can I just let her insurance pay for repairs? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Ally,

Hopefully, in addition to taking all-important photographs you also obtained the other driver’s contact information and the name and information of her auto insurance company.

It appears there was a witness who heard the other driver’s radio blasting away. If possible, seek out the witness and ask him if he would be willing to write down what he saw and heard. If so, have him write that information in his own words and in his own handwriting. A notarized signature would be preferred, but not legally necessary.

Contact the other driver’s insurance company and tell them you want to file a property damage claim. This is referred to as a “third party claim.” Once contacted, you will be assigned a claims adjuster who will contact you to handle the matter. At that time you can send photos of the accident along with the witness statement.

It is always best to notify your own car insurance company to report the accident. Not only are you contractually obligated to do so under the terms of your insurance policy,

but also because there always exists the possibility the other driver many suddenly decide she was injured and retain an attorney to pursue a personal injury claim against you.

It is difficult to know, if upon filing a claim with your own insurance company your premiums will be raised. That will be predicated upon your prior driving record and previous insurance claims.

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

Best of luck,

Published: December 8, 2016

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