Two cars collided while backing up...

by Anonymous
(Houston, TX)

I slowly backed out straight (90%) from my parking space to a complete stop, shifted to drive, and was in the process of easing forward back into the same parking space to center my car. I then felt an impact with another vehicle who was backing out on the opposite row to the right of my passenger side.

I checked my shoulders and mirrors for clearance before backing out of my parking space. The parking spaces on the opposite row are half of a parking space shifted to the right of my passenger side.

The damages to my vehicle are streaks of paint scraped off during the impact. The streaks are light and narrow from the rear bumper and they get wider and deeper moving toward the front of the vehicle. Also, a lower piece of the driver's side tail light is chipped off. As the other vehicle was backing up, it transferred her paint to my rear bumper, which tells me her vehicle was moving into my stationary car.

The damage on her car is the driver's side rear quarter panel right above the rear wheel well is dented. Rear wheel well body damage increased from the back of the vehicle towards the wheel well. Rear bumper and rear driver side passenger door was not damaged.

My daughter was in the car with me when the accident occurred. She turned and saw the other vehicle was no more than halfway backed out of her parking space when the cars collided. It seems kinda strange that both vehicles are damaged on the driver side.

We both re-parked our cars back into the previous parking spaces and exited the vehicles to assess the damages and incident. We didn't call the police nor exchange any personal or insurance information since we didn't know who was at fault. We both agreed to file with our own insurance for the repairs.

Her insurance contacted me and my insurance company. Her insurance company determined it was my fault. My insurance company is now investigating. I filed a police report 13 days after the accident since the insurance companies got involved.

This is truly a learning experience that I should have called the police, exchanged information, and taken pictures at the scene, and before moving the vehicle back into the parking space.

Based on the damages on both vehicles, who do you think is at fault? What can I do to deny that I'm 100% at-fault for this accident, as I think the other driver was primarily at fault? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Two cars collided while backing up...":

Anonymous (Houston, TX):

By failing to contact your insurance company after the accident you may have violated the Notice of Occurrence section of the policy. The Notice of Occurrence clause obligates you to report to your insurance company any car accidents you are involved in.

Contact your insurance company and tell the claims adjuster handling the claim exactly how you feel. However, when it comes down to it, it is entirely up to your insurance company to decide whether to pay the claim or not.

Without more evidence, including the precise position of the cars immediately before the collision, the paint transfer, body damage, and more, it is impossible for us to tell you who was at fault. Most insurance adjusters who handle property damage claims are experts at looking at damage to cars and determining who may have been at fault, or if the fault was shared.

If you took photos of the damage using your cell phone or digital camera, be sure to send them to your insurance company. The photos will be helpful to the claims adjuster handling your 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

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