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Who is at-fault in a car accident when both drivers are backing up?

Question: If you are backing up a dead-end street and a person backs out of their driveway and strikes your car, which driver is at fault?

Answer:  Typically the person on the street has the right-of-way over a person backing out of a driveway, but since you were backing up, traveling in the usual right-of-way, then there may be negligence found on the part of both drivers.

Depending upon state negligence laws, it’s likely that both drivers will be found partially at-fault because both were backing up at the time of the incident. Since the two cars collided, it would appear that both drivers either didn’t have proper lookout or didn’t take reasonable care when backing up.

Where the damage was sustained on your car may make a difference on the percentage of responsibility that the car insurance company will place on the driver backing out of his driveway.

For instance, if the motorist backing out of the driveway hit the middle of your car, then likely he would be found more at-fault or completely at-fault by the auto insurance provider since the driver should have seen a car that was directly behind him.

If you make a claim in a state that has comparative negligence laws, then your claim can be reduced by the amount that they find you at-fault. This means, if you are found 30% at fault, you will be paid only for 70% of your damages.

If your state has contributory negligence and you’re found any percentage at-fault, then you may not be able to recoup for your damages.

If it’s found that you contributed to the accident in any way, like not taking reasonable care according to the insurance company when driving backward down the street, then you would be unable to recover from the other party for damages under contributory negligence laws.

If you believe the driver coming out of his driveway is at-fault, then you can make an auto insurance claim against the property damage liability portion of his car insurance policy. If the other party thinks you were to blame, he may also make a claim against your property damage liability coverage.

The insurance companies involved will then determine fault.

If the other driver is found totally at-fault for the accident, then you should be able to get your car’s full damages paid for by his insurer. If you are found partially at-fault, then expect your damages to be only partially paid for, if covered at all.

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