Who is at fault for this accident while reversing out of a spot?

by Rachel
(New York)

The parking spot to the left of me was vacant as I was reversing out of my parking spot. I looked to the rear and could see no one coming. I was halfway out of my spot when someone tried pulling into the spot to my left. Our front ends collided (her right and my left), as the other driver couldn't wait for me to finish pulling out.

Who is at fault in this scenario? She was in a rush for an appointment, but still assumed I was at fault. What can I do about this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Who is at fault for this accident while reversing out of a spot?":

Rachel (New York):

One or both of you may have had some fault in the collision. The State of New York follows the Pure Comparative Fault doctrine. This means when both parties in an accident share some degree of fault, the amount of compensation each party receives will be proportionate to their percentage of fault in the accident.

It is arguable if you had already started to back out of the parking space, and subsequent to that, even by a second or so, the other driver pulled into the space to your left, then the other driver would be at fault. The questions remains....what percentage of fault do you both share, if any?

For purposes of personal injury claims, New York is a No-Fault insurance state. This means regardless of who was at fault in a crash, the driver's own insurance company will pay for their insured's legitimate crash-related medical expenses and incidental costs.

To read New York's laws on No-Fault insurance click here.

However, in this case, there were no apparent injuries. The issue here is property damage, and therefore no-fault insurance would not cover the cost.

Here's how New York's comparative fault law works...

Let's say you file a claim for property damage with the other driver's insurance company. The insurance company will investigate the collision by speaking with both drivers. They will also look at the actual property damage. If there were any witnesses, they may speak with them as well.

This is all in an effort to determine what percentage of fault, if any, did you and the other driver share in the collision. Your insurance company will likely take the same action if the other driver files a property damage claim against you.

Let's say after the investigations it's determined the other driver was 60% at fault, and you were 40% at fault. Your property damage was $1,000. You would therefore receive $600 from the other driver's insurance company. The same would apply to the other driver in the lesser percentage.

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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