Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?

May 10, 2022
Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that tens of thousands of car accidents occur in parking lots and garages each year. Oftentimes, these are the result of distracted driving and backing up without properly checking surroundings. These accidents can be minor or can result in severe injuries, such as whiplash and broken bones. 

Determining who is at fault in a car accent when backing up isn't always easy, as there are often many factors to consider. Contacting a car accident lawyer can help you determine the fault in such accidents. The lawyer can also help you file the relevant lawsuits in order to receive fair compensation. 

How Can You Determine Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?

Essentially, the fault falls on whichever car or driver was not following the rules or driving negligently. However, there are two main ways to determine fault in a backing up accident, including:

Who Had the Right of Way?

This is a great way to determine fault if both cars were moving at the time of the accident. One driver might be in the right, having the right of way, while the other violated traffic patterns. They might have refused to yield right of way to the other driver, leading to the crash.

Some exceptions to this are when the driver with the right of way is speeding or takes their focus off the road. In such circumstances, the one with the right of way can share some of the fault.

Was the Hit Vehicle Moving?

It is often easy to determine fault when a car backs into a non-moving vehicle. In such circumstances, the driver of the moving car is most likely at fault. This is because a parked car cannot control itself and the driver backing out bears the fault for the accident.

Exceptions may occur when the car is parked in an undesignated parking spot or is parked illegally. This often removes their right of way privilege and takes some or all of the fault off the other driver. 

What Can Lead to a Car Accident When Backing Up?

There are a few scenarios that are subject to backing up accidents. Some of these scenarios include:

Backing out of a Parking Spot

You have to be careful when backing out of a parking space. You should look for any passing vehicles or other vehicles that might be backing out too before moving. This helps you determine who has the right of way. 

When there is a moving car, that car has the right of way over the one that wants to back out. However, if the moving car speeds up or acts without observing safety rules, the driver of the moving vehicle is at fault. If the car backing out doesn't wait for the moving car to pass before backing out and they collide, the backing out car is at fault. 

Moreover, if a car backs into a parked vehicle, then the driver of the moving car is likely responsible for the accident.

Two Cars Backing Up

This is a common accident in parking lots, especially when the cars are in each others' blind spots. If both cars back into each other, both drivers share the fault for the accident. You have to look at all sides before backing up to ensure you don't collide with another car.

Backing into Oncoming Traffic

In some cases, two or more moving cars can share the fault. Any vehicle traveling in the right lane in moving traffic has the right of way over a vehicle backing out. You need to let all the traffic pass and ensure the road is clear before backing out, or you will likely be responsible for the crash.

Is the Backing Up Driver Always at Fault?

In most circumstances, the driver backing up will carry most, if not all, of the fault. This is because they have to ensure they give the right of way to the deserving vehicles and have a clear road before backing up.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some of these exceptions include:

  • Reckless driving: The reckless driver will bear some of the responsibility for the accident.
  • Speeding: Cars over the speeding limit are likely to be partially responsible for the crash.
  • Failure to yield: The moving vehicle should yield right of way when the backing out car is more than halfway out of the space.
  • Driving under the influence or distracted driving

Hire an Attorney to Help Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up

It can be difficult to determine fault in a car accident when a vehicle strikes another when backing up. However, a car accident lawyer can help gather enough evidence to assign fault to the responsible party. Contact Dolman Law Group today to discuss your case details with one of our attorneys.