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Who Could be at Fault for a Crash That Occurs When a Vehicle is Backing Up?

closeup picture of manual gear shiftThere are many types of accidents that happen on our nation’s roads every year. However, you might be surprised at how many crashes occur while backing up.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there are about 30,000 accidents per year that involve one or more vehicles backing up.

You may be thinking this is not that big of a deal because the injuries from these crashes are not that serious. However, these crashes can lead to significant injuries, including soft-tissue injuries and even broken bones.

Below, we discuss fault for these crashes and why fault could be shared between both drivers. We also discuss the types of backing-up crashes that often occur and why they happen.

Common Types of Backing-Up Accidents

Backing-up crashes are common in parking lots, as these crashes often occur when one or more vehicles are backing up out of a parking space. For example, crashes could occur when:

  • One vehicle backs into a parked car
  • One vehicle backs into a car in the through lane between rows of parking spaces
  • Two vehicles are backing up at the same time and they crash into each other

There are also situations when one vehicle backs into a lane of traffic and gets hit by an oncoming car.

There are many different reasons backing-up accidents happen, but they all fall under negligence. One or both drivers involved were negligent in some way, such as by not looking behind them before backing up.

A driver in the through lane may have been distracted and crashed into a driver who was backing up out of a parking space. The driver backing out of a spot may not be at fault because he or she was nearly out of the spot when the crash happened.

Two of the most common reasons the driver who was backing up may be found at fault include speeding and failing to yield. Even if a driver had the right of way, if he or she was speeding, he or she may bear some fault for a backing up crash. Speeding increases the risk of a crash, and it is illegal.

Right-of-way laws still apply in parking lots, and if you break the law and a crash occurs, you will likely be found at fault. Failing to yield to a driver who does not have a stop sign or who has almost finished backing out of a spot are two common examples of right-of-way violations.

Impairment is also a factor in many types of crashes, including backing-up crashes. For example, the driver may have just left a bar or restaurant and be impaired by alcohol. Impairment can result in bad judgment and delayed reactions, which could cause a crash. An impaired driver could back out of a spot without even checking his or her mirrors.

If a crash occurs when a driver backs out of a driveway into oncoming traffic, an oncoming driver could be at fault for changing lanes at the last second without using a turn signal. If the driver who was backing up thought the lane was clear, he or she may not bear the majority of fault for the crash.

Driver Responsibilities When Backing Up

If you are backing out of a parking space, you need to check behind you for cars or pedestrians before moving. Backing out too quickly can be dangerous, it is best to do so slowly and continue checking for traffic.

Make sure not to back up into a parked car, because you are likely to be found at fault for such a crash. However, if the other car was parked illegally, the driver of that vehicle may bear liability.

If you are backing up at the same time as another car and a crash happens, fault may be shared. However, the amount of fault born by each driver may depend on how far they were out of the parking space when the collision occurred.

Avoiding Backing-Up Crashes

Drivers often let their guard down in parking lots. They often act as though they have already arrived at their destination and there is little risk of a crash. However, parking lots can be hectic, with a lot of activity. In some ways, you may be more at risk for a crash in a parking lot.

Make sure to obey the speed limit, come to a complete stop at all stop signs, and be aware of the vehicles around you. You may be tempted to look at your phone for some reason, but there is no need to do that. You will be parked soon, and you can safely check your phone at that time, when the engine is shut off.

If your vehicle is equipped with a back-up camera or sensors, make use of them. These features could help greatly reduce the risk of a crash.

Contact Schmidt Kramer Today to Discuss Your Crash

You should seriously consider working with an experienced Harrisburg-based vehicle crash attorney to pursue compensation after a car crash. Car crash victims who work with attorneys often recover more compensation than those who deal with the insurance company on their own.

Schmidt Kramer has decades of experience recovering compensation for car crash victims. We are ready to manage the legal process on your behalf, pursuing full compensation for the damages you suffered to help you move forward.

No upfront fees or legal obligations. Call (717) 727-2550.