• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Parking Lot Accident Negligence

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Washington DC

Hello friends. I am trying to determine negligence in a minor parking lot accident.

The situation is as follows:

I pulled into a parking space, quickly decided I needed to adjust my parking job, checked for cars passing behind me and slowly pulled back out to realign.

The other party apparently was also pulling out at the approximately same time from a parking space behind, and a few spaces over from my own. The layout of the parking lot was such that the rear ends of both our cars would be parallel to each other, but not in the same reverse lane of travel.

The other party pulled out into an L pattern, seemingly into my lane of reverse travel. I do not believe they were behind me when I started reversing (and I am not sure at the speed which they pulled out of their space) as contact was not made until my car was nearly 1/2 way out of my space.

Their rear left side panel behind their tire made contact with the left side of my rear bumper. Based on the damage to my car, it appears the other party's car was still in motion from the L maneuver.

I believe their wheels were still turned as though they had not straightened to move forward yet, indicating they were not stopped behind me, and we were both moving in reverse. Additionally, the other party's car was not quite perpendicular to my own (which is how only contact was made on the left side of my bumper, rather than the entire length), which seems to indicate the other party was able to reverse into my lane of travel the length from the front of their car to their rear panel before contact was made.

It is my understanding that DC uses a system of contributory negligence. Is this the case with car insurance claims?

We did not verbally decide fault at the scene (although at the time of the accident I thought I may have been at fault, thinking I had not noticed them and were simply behind me before I pulled out at all, and it seemed to me like the party thought they may have been somewhat at fault, but ultimately seemed to act innocent), deciding to get repair quotes and discuss the matter (though we did exchange insurance information). Who appears to be at fault in a case such as this, and what actions could have been taken (if at fault) to not have been at fault?

Given the facts of this case, it seems that we were both potentially negligent, and as such are responsible for the damage to our own vehicles. What is fair to do in a situation like this, and if the party ultimately decides to file a claim against me (because the party thinks I am at fault, which I would not agree with), what will the insurance companies be likely to rule?

Unfortunately, the damage to the other party's car was estimated to cost ~$900 to fix (a considerable percentage of the value of their older model car, approx 1-1.5ft dented/crushed rear panel), with my own car being ~$400 to make it right, and less to try to polish out the paint from the other party's car.

Thanks for your input!
Last edited:


Senior Member
You have to ask yourself a simple question: If it takes that long to explain such a simple situation, are you just trying to make up elaborate excuses why it's not your fault?

50/50 fault


Junior Member
another mis-read of the questioner's intent, which at no time was "please tell me i'm not at fault," explicitly or implied. anyway, in most states and with most insurers, the understanding is that forward or reverse, parallel or perpendicular, parking lot "bumper pool" like this is judged to be the fault of both parties unless someone does something particularly odd. that is not your case. note that this parking lot rule is not applicable to parked cars. in other words, if you park your car at the grocery store and return to find it messed up without a note or perpetrator or witness, it's a hit and run and should be filed under your uninsured motorist coverage.


Senior Member
Another dead thread reopened and more wrong information given out. Which direction the cars were moving is ESSENTIAL to fault determination, and whether it happened in a parking lot or on the street is NOT. A car that is backing up is required to yield to all forward-moving traffic (this is in all states). 2 cars backing up have equal duty to yield, but if one is backing up and the other is going forward, then the one backing up is 100% at fault. And I don't know why you brought up a parked car being hit, but any parked car or other unmoving object is ALWAYS 0% at fault for being hit, and that has nothing to do with this post!

Seriously, do you just like to hear yourself talk?

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential