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Determining Fault When Backing out of A Parking Lot

Determining Fault When Backing out of A Parking Lot Accidents involving motorists backing out of a driveway result in an estimated 30,000 serious injuries in the United States and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and health care costs.  The questions of “who is at fault in accidents involving drivers backing our of a parking space is frequently asked by clients who contact our law firm. To settle the dispute we have interviewed our resident attorney Farid Yaghoubtil on the subject. Below he shares his insights on this topic.

Who is at fault when backing out of a parking lot or driveway?

Generally the person backing out is responsible to make sure it is safe. California recognizes that the driver in the “flow of traffic” has the right of way. Thus, when you are backing out of your driveway or parking lot you are considered to be coming into that flow and not given the right of way.

Does this mean you are automatically at fault?

Car Accident Lawsuit - Legal GuideYes, you would be deemed the “at fault” party. But don’t give up on your case. There are times when the other driver is at fault. Examples include running a red light. There are plenty of examples where the driver ran a red light and thus would be deemed at fault for the injury.

What do you recommend if this has happened to someone?

I always recommend that you make sure a police report is filed before doing anything else. You are not allowed to make a police report after the accident. So make sure you do it immediately. If you are seriously injured, it is possible that the police will come to the hospital to take a statement. After a police report is filed, make sure you seek medical treatment of your injuries. It is never advisable to self diagnose.

Should they contact their insurance company?

NO. Absolutely not! Do not make a statement to your insurance company until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney. The reason is that you want to limit the scope of the questioning. Insurance company statements can hold you at fault when you are not responsible for the injuries. Always make sure you speak with an attorney before making a statement to your insurance company.

What happens if it’s my word against the other driver?

This happens all the time. A common example includes when a driver runs a red light and admits to doing so at the scene of the accident. However, when he makes a statement to his insurance company, the story is a bit different.

Isn’t that considered lying or illegal?

You are not under oath when making a statement to your insurance company so it is not perjury, but it unlawful to make false statements regarding an accident. Also, California Evidence Code permits admissibility of the statements made at the scene of the accident under a number of exceptions including the “excited utterance exception” to hearsay.
Auto Accident Attorney at Downtown L.A. Law Group

To Learn more about auto accident liability and personal injury claims visit Mr. Farid Yaghoubtils Google Plus Page

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Auto accidents are common. If you have been injured make sure you get treatment for your injuries. If you have been hurt, speak to an attorney. I know many people feel hesitant speaking with an attorney, but that is not the case with our law firm. There are no fees AT ALL for the consultation and we can give you the best advice. For More information See: Parking Lot Accident Liability  


Interested to know whether or not CA law has anything to say about backing collision cases involving a “spotter”; commonly used when the vehicle involved is large & difficult to maneuver. If the backing vehicle makes contact with another vehicle under this spotter’s guidance, can the spotter be held liable in any capacity?

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