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.
But how do you know who is at fault in a vehicle accident when backing up? There are a few ways to determine liability. If you suspect another driver was the reason for your traffic collision, your car accident attorney will use evidence to prove liability in your claim.
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, the other driver will most likely not be at fault. In the majority of New York back-up car crashes, the moving vehicle is liable for the collision.
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 is liable for the accident.
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 not be held liable for the collision.
However, there is one exception to the right of way rule. If the driver with the right of way was not paying attention, was under the influence, or was speeding, that driver may be partly at-fault for the collision.
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 suggests if the driver with the right of way had plenty of time to stop and let the other vehicle finish backing out of a space. It could also suggest that the right of way driver was not paying attention or speeding at the time of the accident.
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 vehicle damage, medical ailments, and fatalities. That is why it is necessary to work with a qualified car accident lawyer. 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 in their rearview mirror before departing. If the driver fails to do this and backs into another car, they will be 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 are at fault for the collision. Since the cars were reversing at the same time, neither had the right of way. Both drivers failed to make sure the area was clear before backing up their vehicles.
If you and another driver are partially responsible for the parking lot accident, you may have difficulty reaching a fair settlement. An experienced car accident lawyer can assist by calculating how much compensation you are entitled to after the traffic collision.
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 liable for the traffic collision. Keep in mind: oncoming vehicles may share part of the responsibility in this type of accident.
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 may share partial liability.
A New York Car Accident Attorney Can Determine Fault in a Back-Up Collision
Which driver is at fault in a car accident when backing up? The answer depends on several factors. To ensure the liable party is held accountable after a collision, consult with a New York motor vehicle accident lawyer.
An experienced car accident law firm will analyze your claim, gather evidence to prove fault, and negotiate with an insurance company to get you a fair payout. Without a legal team, you might miss out on financial recovery for damages caused by another driver’s negligence.