Driving a car in reverse is one of the most dangerous things you can do. No matter how a driver attempts to look behind them, they have a restricted view, whether they actually turn their head, use mirrors, or a backup camera. We rely on sight to drive. When you can’t properly see, you might miss something, and accidents can happen. In fact, backing up is so much more complicated than driving forwards that many countries have laws against backing up on public roads or highways.
If you were in a car accident where you hit another car while reversing, or if someone else backed into you, you’ll no doubt be wondering who is at fault in backing up accidents.
Is the person backing up always at fault?
People’s first question about backing up accidents is often “is the reversing driver always at fault?”
The answer is no, while the person who was reversing is often at fault, they are not always at fault for the back up accident. Like any other car accident, fault has to be determined based on the facts of the accident.
To determine fault, courts typically will consider:
- Police reports
- Damage to vehicles
- Witness statements
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Security camera or dashcam footage (if available)
Backing out of a parking space: who is at fault?
One of the most common backing up accidents is one where the driver that is reversing is pulling out of a parking space and either reverses into another car or another car hits them as they are backing up or before they are able to move forward.
In these cases, the fault usually lies with the car that was moving. Although the car that is driving forwards has the right of way, they don’t have the right to smash into a car that is not moving.
Let’s go through some common parking lot backing up accident scenarios:
If the car that is reversing drives into another car that is not moving, the fault will most likely be with the car that was moving. They drove directly into another car, which likely had no option to get out of the way.
If the car that is reversing has come to a stop prior to being hit, the fault will most likely be with the other car that was moving. They must have been driving too fast to be able to stop, which is why they hit the car that was backing up.
If both cars were moving, the fault may be shared. The portions do not have to be equal. For instance, if one car was speeding or the driver was shown to not be paying attention, they may be assigned a larger share or even all of the fault. Provided both cars were moving at normal speeds and both drivers were reportedly paying attention, the larger share or all of the fault will lie with the person that was backing up as they did not have the right of way.
Who is at fault when backing out of a driveway?
The second most coming back up accident is one where a driver is attempting back out of their driveway and is struck by another car.
Just like the scenario where a car is backing out of a parking space, when backing out of a driveway you don’t have the right of way, the car on the street that is moving forwards does. If you hit a car pulling out of driveway, you are most likely going to be found to be at fault.
However, if the other driver can be shown to have been speeding or not paying attention, or if your car was already in the road and not moving, they may be assigned some or all of the fault.
How to avoid accidents when reversing or backing up
The best ways to avoid accidents when backing up are to:
- Take your time
- Check behind you both ways
- Check multiple times if you aren’t sure the way is clear
- Don’t rely on mirrors, cameras, or the word of others
- Drive slowly, don’t gun it!
What to do if you were in an accident involving backing out of a driveway or parking spot
If you were in an accident that involved a car pulling out of a parking spot or a driveway, you should:
- Make sure everyone is okay and call for help if not
- Make sure the scene is safe; move to a safe location if not
- Call the police to fill out a report
- Exchange information with the other driver
- Don’t accept any blame for the accident; it’s best to avoid discussing who is at fault with the other driver
- Take photos of the scene and damage
- Call your insurance
- Call a car accident lawyer
Florida car accident lawyers
If you or a loved one was in a Florida car accident, whether it involved reversing out of a parking spot, driveway, or any other type of motor vehicle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Landau Law are here to help. Contact us today for a free and confidential case consultation. We don’t charge you anything until we collect for you!
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