Many people assume that if a car accident involves one car backing up, that driver will always be the one at fault. But, under many sets of facts, that driver won’t necessarily be at fault. Some of the issues that will decide who is at fault are discussed below.
Who Had the Right of Way?
Generally, the driver who does not have the right of way will be the driver who is at fault in any car accident. However, one of the exceptions to that rule occurs when the driver with the right of way is not paying attention to what is happening or is speeding. So, if a driver who is distracted or driving too fast for a parking lot hits a driver backing up, it is possible that the driver who had the right of way can be found liable for the accident.
Where Is the Damage?
Assigning liability or fault can be as simple as looking at the damage in the vehicle. The damage can show who hit whom and whether one of the vehicles had a chance to avoid the accident. For example, if a car has backed out of a parking space and is hit in the rear, the driver that struck the vehicle leaving the parking space should have had ample time to stop and avoid the accident.
Were There Witnesses?
There were, of course, the two drivers as witnesses, but they probably see each other as the at-fault parties. However, if there were independent witnesses to the accident, their statements can be critical to determining fault. An experienced Atlanta car accident attorney can use those statements to demonstrate fault properly.
Common Parking Lot Accidents
- Car Backs out of Space and Hits Parked Car – Unless the parked car was parked illegally, the odds are particularly good that the driver backing out of the parking space is at fault.
- Car Backed out of Space and Hits Moving Car – Usually, the driver backing out of the parking space will be at fault since that driver should have looked for other vehicles. The driver going forward would have had the right of way and, unless that driver can be shown to have failed to pay attention, the driver backing out is likely to be found at fault.
- Both Cars Are Backing Up – If both cars were backing up and both failed to see the other, both would probably be found liable. Depending on the state where the accident occurred, this can reduce or eliminate any recovery for the accident.
- Backing out of a Driveway – When backing out of a driveway, you are expected to look for oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and other obstacles. If the driver in reverse hits an oncoming car, that first driver is probably at fault. However, the driver on the road should have been paying enough attention to avoid the accident and therefore may have some liability.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today!
If you or a loved one have been involved in a “backing up” car accident in Atlanta, you should work with an experienced and skilled car accident attorney. Contact us today or call 404-689-2767 for an initial consultation and case evaluation.
FAQs – Liability When Backing Up
Does the driver going forward always avoid liability?
No. The driver going forward has an obligation to pay attention to the surrounding traffic. If the evidence shows that this driver was not paying attention or was driving recklessly, then that driver may be liable for the accident.
Are the drivers in a parking lot accident always equally at fault?
No. The same rules for determining liability in any car accident apply to a parking lot car accident. Generally, the moving driver who hits a parked car is liable; the reversing driver who hits a driver going forward is liable, and the driver who fails to pay attention is liable.
How can I avoid a parking lot accident?
Stay alert. Pay attention to those around you and watch for cars beginning to pull out of parking spaces. Understand who has the right of way when, and don’t get so fixated on finding a space that you pay attention to nothing else.