Is the moving vehicle always at fault in an accident with a stationary vehicle?

by Laura

My son was pulling into the high school parking lot this morning and while passing a parked car that person opened their door and hit my son's vehicle. They admitted fault and said they were in a hurry and didn't look before they opened the door. My insurance tells me that the moving vehicle is always at fault.

Is this true? How can this be? The other party even admitted fault when they called the insurance company. Is this just another example of why no-fault insurance costs a fortune and is the absolute worst ever?!? Any perspective you can give on the liability issue here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Is the moving vehicle always at fault in an accident with a stationary vehicle?":

Laura (Michigan):

We don't know where your insurance company came up with "the moving vehicle is always at fault" assertion. That may be their take on liability, or their policy, but it's not true. Fault is determined on a claim-by-claim basis.

As you probably already know, no fault insurance does not cover property damage. As a result, drivers whose cars are damaged as a result of another driver's negligence have the legal right to seek compensation from the person who was negligent.

However, as we said above, often fault is not easily determined. In many cases both parties may have contributed to the accident. This is referred to as each party's Comparative Fault. Learn more about 51% modified comparative fault here.

As long as the victim of the accident's comparative negligence doesn't exceed 50%, the victim can still recover compensation for the damage to his car. The amount of recovery will be proportionate to the victim's comparative fault. If the victim's comparative fault exceeds 50%, the victim is barred by state law from recovering compensation.

In your son's case, it appears he and the other person may have shared some fault. Instead of seeking compensation from your own insurance company, you have a right to seek compensation for property damage from the other person's insurance company.

Hopefully your son was able to get the other person's insurance information. If not, and you or your son know how to contact the person, do so and ask for the insurance information.

With that in hand, contact the insurance company and tell them you want to file a property damage claim. The insurance company will open a file, assign a claim number , and investigate the claim.

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

P.S. Please help us out by sharing this site...

Click here to post comments

Return to Parking Lot Accident Questions

How Much Is Your Claim Worth?

Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney...

How Much Are Your
Injuries Worth?

Find out with a
free attorney review: