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  1. #1
    angelkiss6963 is offline Junior Member
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    HELP!!!!! Hit by another car in parking lot, now its my fault????

    What is the name of your state?
    California

    Who is liable in this case? As she hit me, I don't believe i should bear full responsibility

    What happened:

    I pulled into a side street to enter a parking lot. There were two enterences one directly on the corner and one roughly 2-3 car lengths down. I took the 2nd enerance (or so i thought). It turns out that it was one-way, but was not well marked. I did not know this at the time, and I had never been there before. I was going maybe 5 mph.

    I pulled in very slowly, only as far as about three parking spots, realized it was one way, so I was planning to simply back into a spot on my right. This is when the incident occured. I was stopped and a woman in one of the parking spots to my left, backed out, without even looking, right into my drivers side door. Her car was fine. Mine was not. It should be roughtly 800-1000 in damages as it is a new car.

    This was my first accident, so i wasnt sure of the protocol. She admitted liability at the scene, but there was no witness. We exchanged info and i called my insurance right away. I took a picture and emailed it to her that night. I actually spoke to a guy later that saw it and said that it was her fault (but i very stupidly did not get his number or name). We didnt call the police because it wasnt really a big acciddent (now i know i should have).

    Now, her insurance is saying it is entirely my fault, but she hit me! Granted i did enter the wrong way, but i was not moving and had she looked in her rearview, i was directly behind her. She would have hit me regardless of the direction i was facing at the time.

    What can i do? It doesnt really seem worth getting a lawyer, and i coudnt afford one anyways. Im 23, just started my first real job 6months ago.
    Are there any liability laws about this? HELP!!
  2. #2
    Blue Meanie is offline Senior Member
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    It turns out that it was one-way, but was not well marked. I did not know this at the time, and I had never been there before. I was going maybe 5 mph
    How could is be the other drivers fault? YOU drove the wrong way in a one way. YOUR fault.
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I disagree. The other car was BACKING UP, and OP was either stopped, or moving forward (depending on who you believe). Either way, the reversing vehicle is going to be at fault.
  4. #4
    angelkiss6963 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    I disagree. The other car was BACKING UP, and OP was either stopped, or moving forward (depending on who you believe). Either way, the reversing vehicle is going to be at fault.
    What rules/laws/regulations can i cite or find to say who is at fault? I agree that i was indeed in error as far as traffic laws...

    However, as for the actual accident, it had nothing to do with what way i was going. She had a clear view of me, and a clear view of the street i came from, it was a very open parking lot, and it wouldn't have mattered what way i was heading. She simply did not look behind her and backed up.
  5. #5
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Since her insurance company denied your claim, you can sue the driver in small claims court, and tell the judge that she was reversing and had the greater duty to yield to traffic moving forward or stopped behind her. She failed to use caution when backing up, negligently causing damage to your vehicle.
  6. #6
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelkiss6963 View Post
    We didnt call the police because it wasnt really a big acciddent (now i know i should have).
    It would not have mattered. Not only are the police not required to take a report of a non-injury collision, they cannot assign fault in this kind of a private property collision. So, no fault would be assigned even if they DID take a report. In essence, the police would have simply facilitated an exchange of information and grumbled about the hour or two it would take to write the report that is really not a police matter at all.

    Also, you have to note that insurance companies are NOT bound by the police officer's assignment of fault. They use their own formulas and frequently dole out fault in percentages - something law enforcement in my state and most others cannot do (I am unaware of ANY state where police can assign percentages of fault, but I suspect there might be a few).

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  7. #7
    tammy8 is offline Senior Member
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    I have did the same thing, on both sides.....going up the wrong way and only looking while backing in the direction of the parking. I can see where you both might be assigned some fault in this (although she seems to be mostly) and in a lot of states, 1% at fault can mean a denied claim.
  8. #8
    paulrwc is offline Junior Member
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    Wow, I had the EXACT same thing happen to me today. The back of the parking lot was taped off for construction and everyone was going up and down the wrong lanes... I turned into the wrong, unmarked direction and pulled up and stopped. I was waiting for some moron to figure out the parking lot had no rear access while he weaved around the in spots... i was going to park right where he was. I was completely stopped, for maybe 5 seconds then my daughter yells out that someone is about to hit us and WHAM. She backed straight out into me, we exchanged numbers/info and she immediatly offered to pay out of pocket (I immediatly began to write any and all info about her insurance/car) and we went on our way - again, no injuries or reason to call for an officer. I speak with her later on tonite and she says its half my fault, I would agree if I was moving forward or reverse and there was a one way sign and the parking lot wasnt under construction but none of that was the case. I found a few links to this little page, its posted under different states laws so hopefully its a good guidline to go by for fault.

    [url]http://www.mass.gov/Eoca/docs/doi/Legal_Hearings/211_74.PDF[/url]

    There are 2 that seem to deal with this but one clearly states "shall be presumed to be more than 50% at fault when operating a vehicle in the wrong direction on a travel lane, one-way street, or highway and whose vehicle is in a collision with another vehicle. " Which i dont know what a parking lot is considered in that? Isnt it private property? Could I consider my driveway a 'travel lane'? Are we 'operating' while parked? We sure are arent traveling.. So thats some fault on our side, according to that...

    BUT, this one should take precedence I would hope: "Leaving or Exiting from a Parked Position, Parking Lot, Alley or Driveway. The operator of a vehicle subject to the Safe Driver Insurance Plan shall be presumed to be more than 50% at fault when operating a vehicle which is leaving or exiting from a parked position, parking lot,
    alley or driveway, and whose vehicle is in a collision with another vehicle."

    Plus theres the backing up one: "Collision While in the Process of Backing Up. The operator of a vehicle subject to the Safe Driver Insurance Plan shall be presumed to be more than 50% at fault when operating a vehicle which is in the process of backing up and whose vehicle is thereafter in a collision with another vehicle."

    So I think their 2 faults should trump our one fault... but what do we know right? The insurance people will play their game very well.

    I just bought this car a week ago, after my last car was completly totalled by someone flying out of a restraunt parking lot and broadsiding me while I was doing 25mph. I had a witness (pedestrian), a police report and a totalled car and she DENIED liability to her insurance company. Why cant people just take some responsibility when it is defiantly apparent? I live in the bay area california, dont move here if you ever plan to unless you want to deal with people like this all the time.

    Good luck to all of us! Im taking my chances with my insurance.

    -Angelkiss.. I thought YOU were the person who hit ME when I first began reading this post and I thought to myself 'NO WAY, she's saying I backed into her!' until I realized you were in the same situation as myself. Creeped out.
    Last edited by paulrwc; 03-04-2008 at 09:35 PM.
  9. #9
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Nice find, but only applicable in Massachusetts. However, it leads one to wonder if a similar document exists for CA insurance companies.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  10. #10
    paulrwc is offline Junior Member
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    Like I said, I found the exact same document listed for multiple states, that just happend to be the first full link I found. Ive searched for a california document and multiple documents in the past on the california department of insurance website but it hasnt turned up any results. I havnt found it but that doesnt mean it isnt there, im sure we have basic rules that follow those somewhat. Ill know in the morning after a conversation with my agent, ill have him send me some documents to post for information and stuff related to whats going on if he has them.
  11. #11
    angelkiss6963 is offline Junior Member
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    Good Find Paul...
    i talked to my insurance agent today and sent her a statement that i wrote up of facts and liability. The lot was indeed poorly designed, and had no markings as to the enterance or exit, and i had only pulled in as far as first two parking spots. I do not know what i could have done better in this situation. The only way to tell it was a one way was to enter the lot. Ive been scouring the internet for ideas and support of my position and from everything that ive found I really do not believe that I casued this accident in any way. She was clearly not paying attention. What if it had been a child behind her walking the wrong direction, or a bicycle? I think, everything else aside it is her duty to assure a clear and unobstructed path behind her. She failed to do so, and that caused the accident. I was just suprised that she admitted to it being her fault... and it seems everything is taken care of until out of the blue someone changes their mind.

    So i guess we will see... its the job of each insuarance agency to get the best deal for their client so i can see why they would try and use that against me. Its the only thing they've got. I think the best thing to do is write out a very detailed statement, provide support, lots of pictures (google maps/ satalite pictures do wonders) and see how it pans out.
  12. #12
    angelkiss6963 is offline Junior Member
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    Update...

    FYI: Case went to a judge... The ruling was in my favor as I was clearly behind her and it was her greater duty to assure a clear path before backing.
  13. #13
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelkiss6963 View Post
    FYI: Case went to a judge... The ruling was in my favor as I was clearly behind her and it was her greater duty to assure a clear path before backing.
    Thanks for the update - as I read through your thread, this outcome would have been my "prediction". Glad you got a judge who agrees with you (and the law)
  14. #14
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelkiss6963 View Post
    FYI: Case went to a judge... The ruling was in my favor as I was clearly behind her and it was her greater duty to assure a clear path before backing.
    And it took only three months.

    Y'all must have the rocket docket up there.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  15. #15
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorjudge View Post
    And it took only three months.

    Y'all must have the rocket docket up there.
    Small-claims can be fast depending on where you are and how smooth it goes.
    For the record, I don't think OP actually was in front of a "judge" - but it'll work in this instance Additionally, the other driver has the option of appealing still.

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