WHO’S AT FAULT?
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There is no helping the instant frustration brought on by the telltale impact of backing into another car. Drivers often assume the driver of the vehicle that backed into the other car is at fault. However, this is not always the case. Who really is at fault in a backing-up car accident? This can depend on a number of circumstances and the facts surrounding the accident.
There are many different ways a driver can end up backing into another car. Determining who was at fault for the accident is important, especially when injuries have been suffered. If the accident and your injuries were caused by another’s negligence, a car accident lawyer can help make sure you are not left suffering the consequences.
Let’s take a closer look at how these types of car accidents happen, how fault is determined, and what a local car accident attorney can do for you.
HOW DID THE COLLISION OCCUR?
How a car accident occurred is an important question to answer in determining fault after any collision. There are many different ways a driver may end up backing into another car. Here are some common ways these types of car accidents take place:
HITTING A PARKED CAR
Accidents where one car backs into another car happen most often in parking lots. This is a good thing as far as car accidents go because these accidents are usually at slow speeds, causing less severe injuries.
When a driver backs into a car that was parked in a space and not moving, that driver is most often at fault. It is expected that the driver should have been able to see the parked car and avoid it while backing up.
On the other hand, the parked car may be considered at fault if the car is parked illegally. Investigators may take the position that the illegally parked car should never have been there and are therefore at fault. This is especially true when the parking spot is illegal because it is difficult for other cars to see a vehicle there.
BACKING INTO A MOVING CAR
Any driver backing up or backing out of a parking space has a responsibility to make sure their path is clear and that they are yielding to any cars behind them with the right of way. In the case of a driver backing into a moving car, the driver moving forward almost always has the right of way. The driver moving in reverse is usually assigned the fault in this type of accident.
However, every car accident is unique and the driver of the vehicle moving forward may be guilty of negligence in certain cases. Some reasons that the driver of the forward-moving vehicle may be at fault include:
- Not paying attention
- Driving under the influence
In such a case, some of or all of the responsibility for the accident may fall on the driver of the vehicle that was backed into.
BACKING OUT OF A DRIVEWAY
Many car accidents occur when drivers back into another vehicle while exiting a driveway. Poor peripheral visibility can make reversing out of driveways dangerous, especially when backing onto a fast-moving road. The driver backing out of the driveway is expected to yield to oncoming traffic.
Accidents where a driver backs into another car while exiting a driveway usually end with the driver moving in reverse being at fault. But, as with other accidents with drivers moving in reverse, the other driver can sometimes share the blame. If the driver that was backed into was speeding or was able to avoid the reversing vehicle but failed to do so, they may be partially at fault.
BACKING INTO ANOTHER CAR HEADING IN REVERSE
Determining fault can be more challenging in a car accident where two vehicles backed into each other. Neither driver technically has a right of way over the other when each driver is moving in reverse. Each driver is expected to have made sure they had a clear pathway to reverse before moving. In such a case, it can be argued that both drivers failed to make sure they were clear to back up and are equally at fault.
COMMON INJURIES SUFFERED DURING HEAD-ON COLLISIONS
Fortunately, most accidents involving a car backing into another car take place at relatively low speeds. These types of accidents do not often lead to life-threatening injuries but that does not mean injuries do not occur. The injuries most often seen after a driver backs into another vehicle are:
- Headaches or migraines after the accident
- Back, neck, or shoulder injuries
Some of these injuries may seem minor in the moment but injuries, such as whiplash, can have lasting effects. Whiplash can prevent people from being able to work or perform daily tasks for weeks or longer. Car accident victims may even face expensive medical bills for treatment after injuries and deserve to be properly compensated if they were not at fault.
Severe injuries can sometimes occur in accidents involving one vehicle backing up in certain situations. A driver backing onto a road with fast-moving traffic can lead to serious injuries if they back into a vehicle traveling at high speeds.
A pedestrian being struck by a vehicle backing up can also lead to more serious injuries. Pedestrians do not have a vehicle to protect them when being struck and the driver of the vehicle will almost always be at fault. A pedestrian accident attorney can help you advise you of your legal options following a pedestrian accident.
HOW FAULT IS DETERMINED AFTER BACKING INTO ANOTHER CAR
It is not always easy to determine who is at fault in a car accident but there are certain key factors that need to be looked at, mainly:
- Who had the right of way?
- Was the car that was struck moving or stopped?
- What can the location and extent of damage tell us about the accident?
- Were there any witnesses?
RIGHT OF WAY
The most important factor in many car accidents, especially accidents where one vehicle backs into another, is who has the right of way? The driver who had the right of way is usually not at fault in this type of accident.
While the driver who did not have the right of way is most often at fault, the driver with the right of way may have some fault in certain cases. All drivers have a duty of care to other drivers while operating a vehicle. A driver that breaches this duty of care by not paying attention, speeding, or driving under the influence, may find themselves legally responsible for an accident even if they had the right of way.
WAS THE CAR STOPPED OR MOVING?
Another important factor to look at when one car backs into another is was the car that was hit moving or stopped at the time of the collision?
The fault is fairly cut-and-dry when it comes to car accidents that involve a driver backing into a vehicle that was stopped. A stopped or parked car is not moving and should be easily avoided by a driver that is paying attention as they back up.
A forward-moving vehicle with the right of way that is backed into will almost never be at fault in the accident, especially if they stopped or attempted to evade the reversing car. The driver of a moving vehicle with the right of way will only be held responsible for the accident if they are shown to have been negligent.
WHAT DOES THE DAMAGE TELL US?
The location and extent of damage in a car accident can often provide clues as to how the accident happened and who might be at fault. Damage from an accident can prove to be an important piece of evidence in winning a personal injury or property damage lawsuit. It is always important to take clear photographs of the damage and scene of any car accident.
A driver that backs into another car may be able to show that the other driver was partially at fault through the damage to each vehicle. Damage in the back of a vehicle backing up and the front of a vehicle moving forward suggests the driver heading forward had time to see the driver backing up and avoid the accident. When the damage is in the side of the vehicle moving forward and in the back of the vehicle backing up, it indicates the driver backing up failed to see or yield to the oncoming car.
One of the most important factors to look at when determining fault in an accident is were there any witnesses? Witness statements can be tremendously impactful when trying to determine fault in an accident. A witness can provide a first-hand account of how the accident happened which can often make fault much easier to determine.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A BACKING-UP CAR ACCIDENT
People often wonder what they should do after being in a car accident. There are a few important steps any person should take after a car accident regardless of how the accident happened.
The most important thing after any accident is to check for any serious injuries. Check your own health and safety first. Move on to check on any others involved if you are physically able to. Be sure to call for emergency medical services right away if anyone involved has been injured.
Car accident victims may not feel some injuries until hours or even days after the collision. It is always a good idea to get medically evaluated for any potential injuries as soon as possible following an accident. Obtaining documentation of your injuries quickly after your accident will strengthen your case if you need to file an injury claim.
Once the health and safety of all parties involved have been seen to, it is important to begin gathering evidence from the scene if you are able to. Evidence from the scene of the accident can be crucial in proving fault later on, especially when neither driver agrees on who caused the accident.
After a backing-up car accident, look to gather the following evidence:
- Photos of the scene including the vehicles, any damage, debris, and license plate numbers
- Eyewitness testimony and contact information
- Copy of police report if made
- Insurance and contact information for any other drivers involved
- Contact information from any first responders
A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER CAN HELP
The next step to take after a car accident is to contact a car accident lawyer. Many car accident attorneys offer free consultations, allowing you to get expert legal advice without any commitment. A lawyer can advise you on your options moving forward and how best to deal with insurance companies.
Speaking with a lawyer can be extremely beneficial even if you do not intend on hiring them. However, car accident victims who hire professional legal counsel are more likely to win an injury lawsuit and be awarded greater compensation than those who do not hire a lawyer.
Car accident lawyers can help victims and their families get the compensation they are owed for injuries and damages suffered after a collision. Experienced attorneys know how to help you avoid the tricks insurance companies will use to get you to accept a lower settlement.
A lawyer will usually perform their own in-depth investigation into the accident. They can also help you obtain important evidence to strengthen your case, such as parking lot video footage, injury documentation, or police reports. Additionally, your attorney can represent you in legal proceedings and negotiations without you even needing to be there.
SPEAK WITH A LOCAL CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
If you have been injured in a backing-up car accident in Riverview, trust the local attorneys at Calandro Law to handle your case. Whether you were backing up and hit a vehicle or were hit by a vehicle backing up, our experienced lawyers will work tirelessly on your behalf. At Calandro Law, our clients are our family and we only win when they win.
Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our expert car accident attorneys today. Call us at (813) 563-6463 to speak with a personal injury lawyer today.