Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?
Driving a vehicle in reverse can be challenging, especially for young or inexperienced drivers. As a result, the most common back-up crashes occur in busy parking lots and narrow driveways. Even with vehicles traveling at low speeds, serious injuries can occur.
New York law requires that drivers operate their vehicles with care and attention. Vehicles are not permitted to move backward unless it is safe to do so.
How to Determine Fault in a Collision When Backing Up
If you get into an accident while backing up a vehicle, it may not always be your fault. Determining liability in a traffic collision is tricky, which is why you should partner with an experienced attorney. Legal experts use four different factors to establish liability in a car accident caused by backing up. These are the steps involved:
Determine Which Vehicles Were Moving
The Insurance Information Institute’s (III) facts and statistics from 2018 show collisions with parked motor vehicles accounted for 407 collisions and 1.2% of total fatal crashes across the US.
Stopped vehicles are typically not liable for accidents unless they are parked illegally. If you back into an unmoving car or pedestrian, the backing driver will most often be held responsible. There are exceptions, however, and an experienced accident lawyer should be consulted to protect your rights.
Establish Which Driver Had the Right of Way
In collisions where both cars were moving, a car accident attorney determines which driver had the right of way. If one driver violated regular traffic patterns and did not yield to the oncoming car, that driver will likely be held liable for the accident. There can be more than one responsible party to an accident, however. Every case is unique.
In New York, legal experts will analyze traffic lanes, traffic signs, and traffic laws to determine the right of way. For example, in a parking lot, the moving car always has the right of way. If you were adhering to all traffic rules and another vehicle backed into you, then you should generally not be held liable for the collision.
Unfortunately, the backing vehicle may dispute your version of the accident and require you to fight for your rights. Even seemingly simple cases may be disputed. If you are unsure whether you have the right to bring a claim after suffering serious injuries, speak to an experienced and dedicated lawyer.
Analyze Vehicle Damage
A car accident attorney can inspect where vehicle damage occurs to establish fault in an auto accident. The type of vehicle damage may suggest that the driver with the right of way had plenty of time to stop and let the other vehicle finish backing out of the space. It could also suggest that the right-of-way driver was not paying attention or speeding at the time of the accident. Experts in accident reconstruction can be utilized to prove negligence as well.
Get Statements from Witnesses
To determine who is at fault in a car accident when backing up, witness testimonies can help. First, a witness can recount what happened for an official police report. Then, car accident attorneys use their statements as evidence to prove liability and collect damages for accident victims.
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Examples of a Back-Up Crash in New York
Despite slower speeds, back-up collisions can lead to severe damage to pedestrians or other vehicle passengers. An experienced and qualified car accident attorney can work with you to recover maximum compensation.
Legal experts know how to identify liable parties and negotiate fair settlements for accident victims. There are three main types of vehicle crashes that can occur when a car is backing up:
Leaving a Parking Space
Parking lots are a hotspot for vehicle collisions. CBS News reports that one in five car accidents occur in parking lots. In addition, two-thirds of all drivers admit to being distracted by the radio, other people, and cell phones when pulling in and out of parking areas.
When reversing from a parking spot, drivers have a duty of care to look for pedestrians and other vehicles before departing. If the driver fails to do this and backs into another car or pedestrian, they will likely be held liable for the collision.
Multiple Vehicles Backing up at the Same Time
In busy parking lots, two drivers may reverse at the same time and collide. This could occur because the drivers were not paying attention, but also when one vehicle is in another driver’s blind spot.
When two moving vehicles back into one another, both drivers may be at fault for the collision. If both drivers failed to make sure the area was clear before backing up their vehicles, both may be held responsible in some proportion.
If you and another driver are partially responsible for the parking lot accident that resulted in serious injuries, establishing the extent to which each driver is to blame is critical. You need a lawyer that can show that the other driver is mostly to blame.
Backing Out into Oncoming Traffic
Backing out of driveways and alleys can lead to a collision. The vehicle reversing has a duty to check for oncoming traffic when exiting the driveway and entering a new lane of traffic. If a car backs into oncoming traffic, that driver is typically liable for the traffic collision.
Oncoming vehicles may share part of the responsibility in this type of accident depending upon the unique facts and circumstances
For example, a car navigating down a roadway has the right of way, but they also have an obligation to pay attention and drive the speed limit. If the other driver could have avoided the accident, they share partial liability.
A New York Car Accident Attorney Can Fight For Compensation in a Back-Up Collision
If you have been seriously injured in a back-up collision, you may be entitled to recover substantial compensation for your injuries. An experienced car accident law firm will analyze your claim, gather and secure evidence to prove fault, and negotiate with the at-fault party or parties.
Every case is unique, and the facts are not always what they seem. Without a legal team on your side, you might miss out on financial recovery for damages caused by another driver’s negligence or accept less than you deserve.
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Call Dansker & Aspromonte Associates LLP For a Free Consultation
Even if you are not sure if you have a strong claim, call the lawyers at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates LLP at (646) 692-0204 for a free consultation. Our firm has been fighting for the rights of injury victims since 1988.
If you have been involved in an accident, don’t delay speaking to a lawyer as there are deadlines that limit the time you have to bring a claim. If you fail to file your claim by the deadline, you may be forever prevented from recovering the compensation you deserve.
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