How do you determine who was at fault for an accident?

I was in the parking lot at my daughter’s school. Another car was passing on the right to get around our car but it should have waited for us to get out of the way. My daughter opened her car door and scratched his car. No police were called. The driver said we could pay to buff out the scratch and that would be OK. Who was at fault? Is he at fault for pulling out behind me to get around our car or my daughter for opening her car door into his car?

Asked on August 19, 2014 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast answer, and the answer is also not binary--that is, both can be at fault in various degrees. "Fault" in this case is based on negligence, which is being unreasonably careless--that is, being less careful than the hypothetical reasonable person. And often, as may the case hear, both people were at fault: the other driver should have waited for you to move (unless you looked like you were parked/stopped for awhile; then it is reasonable to tryy to go around you), but your daughter should also have looked before opening her door.


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