Can one driver be considered at fault when two cars collide while they are backing out of a store parking space at about the same time?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 13, 2013

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Insurance Question from Torrance, CA

Asked on 06/13/2013

Can one driver be considered at fault when two cars collide while they are backing out of a store parking space at about the same time? In this case, the parking lot is laid out for straight head-in parking on either side of a driving lane. Car 1 was backing out of the space with no cars in the driving lane and the car directly opposite stationary in the parking space. As Car 1 was turning to align with the driving lane, Car 2 backed straight out, colliding with Car 1 at the mid-line of the driving lane. The driver of Car 2 is anxious to avoid an insurance claim and asserts that when two drivers are backing up, neither is at fault, and suggests that each driver should take care of their own car.

Answer given on June 17, 2013

When two cars are backing out of their respective parking spaces the insurance companies will often resolve it as each driver is responsible for their own damages. However, if one car has completed the backing process, the second driver could be considered responsible for the accident. If you have witnesses or photos to prove your position, you may be able to collect from the other driver’s insurance.You can talk to the other insurance company and see if they will consider paying for your damages. If they refuse, you can file a claim with your insurance company and they may be willing to try to collect from the other insurance company. If they are successful your deductible will be returned to you. If not, you will be responsible for your deductible. Again, if you have evidence of fault, and the insurance companies refuse to settle in your favor, you can go to small claims court and try to recover your deductible.

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