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  1. #1
    jenryce is offline Junior Member
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    Question Who has right-of-way in a parking lot?

    Recently, my mother-in-law was in a fender bender in a parking lot (in California). She was backing out of her parking space, was more than halfway out, and was about to shift into "Drive" when another car came from a different aisle (perpendicular to the one she was parked on), turned onto her aisle and immediately clipped my MIL's rear driver's side bumper. The other driver scraped almost the whole length of her passenger side on my MIL's bumper (she admitted to being agitated by another driver just before hitting my MIL's car and appeared to be going faster than the posted 10mph speed limit -- although the insurance company said that there's no way to prove that). The insurance company found my MIL 100% responsible because she was the one backing out -- even though the other driver was on a different aisle and had just changed directions when she hit her. They cited Statute 22106, but I called the Highway Patrol and found out that this statute doesn't even apply to parking lots. Does anyone know of any laws or information that may be helpful to my mother-in-law? Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated! Thank you kindly!
  2. #2
    Curt581 is offline Senior Member
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    If she was actually backing when the collision occurred, the other driver has the right of way.

    The rule of thumb is that vehicles operating contrary to the flow of traffic must yield. Backing up would be contrary to the general flow.
  3. #3
    jenryce is offline Junior Member
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    In most situations, I would probably agree that the person going forward (as opposed to the one in reverse) would have the right-of-way; however, the cop that was called to the scene (but who didn't create a report) said that unmarked intersections were supposed to be treated as 4-way stops (or 3-way in my MIL's situation). And if that's the case, then when the other driver came to the intersection to make a left turn onto the aisle where my MIL was, I would think it would be that driver's responsibility to make sure the road was clear and safe before proceeding to turn; however, my MIL was already more than halfway out at that point and was blocking the lane that the other driver wanted to turn into, but despite that and for whatever reason (whether she didn't see my MIL's car -- which would have been hard to miss, considering it was almost completely pulled out of the parking space -- or more likely, because she thought she could just squeeze past her) she decided to turn, anyway, and clipped my MIL's car in the process.
    I just don't understand how that driver could be deemed completely innocent in this situation. If anyone knows a statute or something that may help clarify this for me, I'd really appreciate it!
  4. #4
    kyblue is offline Junior Member
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    From Kentucky. Having been in the same situation before,with the exception of being cited. The insurance company told me that if I were sitting still, not moving and was hit then it is the other drivers fault. In my case I was driving a 5 speed and was stopped getting ready to shift into 1st gear from reverse. The police officer noted this in my statement on the report he took and it also helped that the other person said he did not notice me until it was too late. The showed that he was not paying attention and was at fault.

    Did I understand that there was no police report filed?

    I would contact the officer at the scene and ask for some type of written statement to sent to your insurance.
  5. #5
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Insurance companies assign fault on their own schedule - not based upon CA state law. So even if this had happened on a highway where CVC 22106 might apply, there would be no assurance that an insurance company would view your mother-in-law as blameless.

    The CHP officer is correct - 22106 does NOT apply in parking lots. In fact, very few Vehicle Code sections will apply in a parking lot. The matter of fault in that case was subjective and based upon all the circumstances. While the officer may find that the woman backing the vehicle was the party most at fault (and that would be reported to the DMV) there is no specific Vehicle Code section that can be cited to support the conclusion as no Vehicle Code section appears to have been violated.

    As a general rule of thumb, the party backing must yeild the right of way. Unless the front end of the other vehicle tagged your mother-in-law's bumper, she will almost assuredly be considered at fault for the purposes of CA's collision reporting system. Even if the other vehicle DID hit her square on the bumper only, she could still be found at fault depending on the circumstances.

    Backing is inherently dangerous. And unsafe backing is the single greatest cause of collisions in parking lots.

    Upon my reading of your post, no report was taken. If there was no report, then the insurance company based their decision as they usually do - on their own criteria. She needs to take it up with them as a civil matter.

    - 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
  6. #6
    jenryce is offline Junior Member
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    Hello -- thank you all for responding.

    Carl, I noticed in a separate post (in a different forum) you sited:

    "Before the driver of any vehicle is entitled to the right-of-way, such driver himself must be operating his vehicle within the law and not in violation thereof." (Carley (1958) 156 Cal.App.2d 643.)

    Even if the insurance companies have their own subjective criteria, from a legal standpoint, could this apply to my MIL's situation; and if so, would the fact that my MIL had cars parked on both sides of her be sufficient to show that she had to have been out pretty far to be turned at the angle where she was hit? Any info would be appreciated!
  7. #7
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenryce
    Hello -- thank you all for responding.

    Carl, I noticed in a separate post (in a different forum) you sited:

    "Before the driver of any vehicle is entitled to the right-of-way, such driver himself must be operating his vehicle within the law and not in violation thereof." (Carley (1958) 156 Cal.App.2d 643.)

    Even if the insurance companies have their own subjective criteria, from a legal standpoint, could this apply to my MIL's situation; and if so, would the fact that my MIL had cars parked on both sides of her be sufficient to show that she had to have been out pretty far to be turned at the angle where she was hit? Any info would be appreciated!
    Well, since neither driver was apparently in violation of any law then neither of them can be clearly seen to have the right of way per CA law.

    And any circumstancial evidence she wants to present is certainly relevant. However, the insurance company is not bound to accept her mitigating circumstances or her evidence. They are largely free to decide as they choose to ... so long as a case can be made for their side of the equation - and in this can it apparently can be argued that MIL was at fault.

    She CAN, however, choose to file a civil suit against the other driver for her damages and see if she can win in court.

    - 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
  8. #8
    kathie27 is offline Junior Member
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    Angry No Rules Apply

    After many weeks of research, I have discovered that most states do not include in their rules of the road, laws pertaining to parking lots. As it stands, it is up to each individual to determine for themselves whether the vehicle pulling out of a space with limited visibility or the car travelling with full visibility through a parking lot has the true "Right of Way". Perplexing to me is that left to one's own judgement you could make the wrong decision and create and accident that you may or may not be at fault for depending on which viewpoint the officer will exercise when responding to your collision. Sad to say, there are no right or wrong answers here.
  9. #9
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathie27 View Post
    After many weeks of research, I have discovered that most states do not include in their rules of the road, laws pertaining to parking lots. As it stands, it is up to each individual to determine for themselves whether the vehicle pulling out of a space with limited visibility or the car travelling with full visibility through a parking lot has the true "Right of Way". Perplexing to me is that left to one's own judgement you could make the wrong decision and create and accident that you may or may not be at fault for depending on which viewpoint the officer will exercise when responding to your collision. Sad to say, there are no right or wrong answers here.
    You DO realize that this thread is nearly 6 years old, right? Please don't post to long-dead threads.
  10. #10
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Awesome first post!

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