Visitor Question

Who is at fault for collision while backing out of a parking spot?

Submitted By: A (USA)

I was in the process of backing out of an angled parking lot, and was mostly backed out. I had looked to my right and saw no one coming. As I was getting ready to put the car in drive I was hit from behind. There were some scratches and and a baseball size dent in my lower left bumper, but the other car had major damage to right front.

Who is at fault in a parking lot accident like this? I was basically already finished backing out when I was hit from behind. How do the insurance companies determine how much each driver has to pay? Thanks for any information you can give.

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 A,

In most cases, the driver who strikes the car in front is liable for the damages caused to the driver in front. “Damages” can include property damage to the car, and injuries sustained by the driver.

Whether or not you contributed to the accident may be determined by the insurance companies. If you live in a pure contributory negligence state and are found to be even 1% responsible, you will not be entitled to any compensation.

If you live in a comparative negligence state and it’s determined you contributed to the accident, any compensation you receive will be proportionate to your responsibility for the crash.

Some comparative negligence states follow the 51% rule. If you live in one of these states and you are found to be 51% or more responsible for the accident, you will not be entitled to any compensation.

Learn more and get a list of states with comparative and contributory negligence here.

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: October 1, 2014

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