If I was backing my car out of a parking lot when I hit a car that was parked in a non parking zone, am I fully responsible for the damages?

The car was parked directly behind me. We were in a private parking area and didn’t call the police. We just exchanged phone numbers and they got in contact with me the following day stating that their insurance company came up with a settlement amount for around $2000.

Asked on October 1, 2014 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are certainly responsible for a good portion of the damages, since it is almost by definition negligent (or unreasonably careless) to back into a large stationary object (a car) behind you--a driver is expected to look and make sure there is nothing behind him or her before backing up. An argument can be make that the negligence of the other driver, in parking someplace he/she should not have, contributed to the accident, and that therefore, this contributory or comparative negligence should reduce what you'd be responsible for. Essentially, in that case you'd only be responsible for that portion of the accident which was your fault, not the other driver's fault for parking in the wrong space; e.g. say that if it went to court, the court might find it was 80% your fault for backing into a stationary car, and 20% the other person's fault for parking in the wrong space. In the case, if full cost to repair plus other costs (e.g. towing) was, say, $2,400, you'd have to pay 80% of it, or $1,920.

It is difficult to say precisely what percentage fault might be assigned to you, but based on the facts as you write them, it certainly would be the majority of the fault, and a court could potentially find that it was entirely your fault--i.e. that your negligence in backing into a large stationary objet completely overwhelms the other party's negligence in parking in the wrong spot.


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