Parking Lot Accident, Who is At Fault?

by Ben
(Calgary, Canada)

I'm at a complete stop waiting for the car in front of me in a parking lot, when a parked car to my right reverses into my passenger door. I have insurance but no collision coverage.

At the time, we called the police, but they said our incident wasn't an emergency and refused to assist us. I have pictures and witnesses. Who is at fault in this accident? Is there anything I should do to strengthen my case? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Parking Lot Accident, Who is At Fault?":

Ben (Calgary, Canada):

From the facts you present it appears the driver who backed into your right rear passenger door is responsible for the property damage to your vehicle.

As a result of increasing crime, police layoffs, and money shortages, police departments’ policies have changed. No longer can one call the police after being involved a “fender bender,” and expect them to come out to make a report.

These days the police will usually be dispatched only to vehicle collisions involving injuries, or to those without injuries but which resulted in traffic blockage or criminal involvement of some kind.

As long as you have the driver’s insurance information, you should not have any problem recovering an amount sufficient to repair your vehicle.

Here’s a tip...

You have an absolute right to have your vehicle repaired at a body shop of your choice. Make sure you tell the body shop and the insurance Claims Adjuster you demand that only Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) parts are used in the repair of your vehicle. These parts are manufactured by the automobile companies like Toyota, General Motors, Ford, etc.

If you don’t insist on having only OEM replacement parts used, the insurance company may authorize only second class inferior parts. It happens all the time. Its not illegal, it’s just the way business is done.

Here is an analogy...

Your girlfriend’s engagement diamond breaks off. It was beautiful when new, but after a couple of months has lost some of its luster, primarily as a result of soot and dust. It was insured. You take it to the jeweler and the insurance company authorizes payment for the replacement.

Two days later you pick it up and slip it back on her finger. Because it hasn’t been exposed to the elements it looks even brighter than the one she lost.

She’s happy – You're happy... but do you know if the diamond was of the same quality as the original? You assumed it was. You took it back to the same jeweler from where you first purchased it.

You may have just been the victim of insurance company "replacement discretion". It may be a diamond of lesser quality. She may not know it until a few months later when the lesser quality flawed diamond begins to loose its luster.

Don’t let that happen to you! Insist on only OEM parts. They won’t lose their luster.

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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