Visitor Question

Who’s at fault in this parking lot accident scenario?

Submitted By: K (Newport News, VA, USA)

Scenario: Car “A” is attempting to back out of a parking space when car “B” is entering the parking lot. Car “A” yields as Car “B” passes behind car “A”, then proceeds to back out. Car “B” passes beyond car “A”, then stops and attempts to back into a parking space directly behind car “A”.

The parking space that car “B” is attempting to occupy is separated from the parking space that car “A” is occupying by the parking lot through lane. Both cars are moving in reverse and collide from the rear.

Who is at fault in a collision like this, when one car is backing OUT of a parking space, while another car is backing INTO a nearby parking space? How is liability determined for sake of the insurance claims? Any perspective you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.

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 K,

The State of Virginia is a “fault” state. This means at-fault parties can be held liable for the results of their negligence. In cases like the one you present, it will be difficult to establish which party was at fault. In these situations insurance claims adjusters normally decide between themselves which party is liable.

Unfortunately, the State of Virginia is also a “pure contributory negligence” state. This means if one party contributed to the accident by even 1 percent, the party isn’t entitled to any compensation. Under the facts you present, if it is determined either driver A or B was even partially at fault, that driver will not be able to recover anything.

If the accident between A and B resulted in serious property damage or personal injuries, both parties should seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney. This is especially true since there is a legitimate question of liability.

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: July 3, 2014

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