There are many reasons why determining who is at fault in a car accident when backing up can be complicated. Drivers do not always anticipate that another car will be reversing. and each driver will have their own perception of time, distance, and the sequence of events leading up to the crash. There may be conflicting stories of what happened.

When a backing up car accident occurs, many people assume the driver who was backing up at the time is always at fault. While the backing-up driver may be at fault, that is not always the case. In some car accident lawsuits, liability may lie with the other driver, or two or more parties may share liability.

Is the Person Backing Up Always At Fault?

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When backing out of a parking space, who is at fault? You may be surprised to learn that it’s not always the driver who is in motion. A Tampa car accident lawyer will use evidence to prove liability in your claim.

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How Do You Determine Who Is At Fault When Backing Up?

There are four basic things that can be used to determine who is at fault when backing up. You can use these things to help decide fault in every situation that involves one or more vehicles backing up.

1. Did the Driver Have the Right of Way?

Usually, one car has the right of way under the law. In most cases, the car that does not have the right of way will be at fault. Of course, with every rule there are exceptions.

The exception to the right of way rule when one or more cars is backing up occurs when the driver with the right of way is not paying attention to the roadway or is speeding. Under these circumstances, the driver with the right of way may have some fault in causing the backing accident.

2. Was the Car Stopped or Moving?

If a car is stopped leading up to the accident, it would be difficult to say that the car’s driver was at fault. If a car is moving but stops with plenty of time, that driver may have very little, if any, fault.

3. Location of the Damage

Sometimes the location of the damage to the vehicles can help establish who was at fault. Damage location can be important because it can help establish if one or the other vehicle could have avoided the accident.

For example, if a car were able to back all the way out of a parking space and was just about to drive forward, the damage would be to the back of the backing vehicle and the front of the other vehicle. This suggests there was plenty of time for the car that initially had the right of way to see the car backing up and stop. It would also suggest that this driver was not paying attention.

4. Witness Statements

Many times, drivers have differing accounts of what happened. There differing accounts will often point the finger at each other. This is where a personal injury attorney at our firm will tell you witness statements can make the difference. A credible witness’s statements will usually be believed over either driver because the drivers are biased.

Who Is At Fault in a Parking Lot Accident When Backing Up?

The most common place for a car accident when reversing is a parking lot. The most common parking lot accidents when reversing are listed below.

A Car Backed Out of a Parking Space into a Parked Car

This one is usually a no-brainer. The parked car is not moving. The driver is moving. The driver that backs up into a parked car is most often at fault because that driver should have been able to see the parked car and avoid hitting it.

However, if the parked car is parked illegally, there are times when the illegally parked car will be at fault. This will happen when the reason it is illegal to park in that location is that it is difficult to see a car parked there.

A Car Backed Out of a Parking Space into a Moving Car

When one car is backing out of a parking space, that car’s driver is supposed to look for cars before reversing. However, as we all know, drivers don’t always do what they’re supposed to.

Since the car backing up was moving in reverse at the time of the crash, it will usually be at fault in the accident. On the other hand, the car moving forward has the right of way. That car usually will not be at fault unless there is evidence that the driver was either not paying attention or was speeding. If so, then both drivers may have some fault.

Two Cars Are Backing Up at the Same Time

Determining who is at fault in a car accident when both cars are backing up can be difficult. Neither car would really have the right of way if both cars were reversing at the same time. However, both cars had an obligation to look before they backed up to see if the roadway was clear.

Since both cars began to move, they didn’t see that the other car was either about to reverse or was already reversing. The fact that both cars were moving will make them both responsible. When a parking lot accident is the fault of both backing up, in some states, it may affect your compensation or eliminate your chance of getting a settlement at all.

Distasio Law Firm


➤ Do You Have A Case?
➤ When To Call A Lawyer?
➤ Post-Accident Checklist?

Who Is At Fault When Backing Out of a Driveway?

Another common car accident involving backing up occurs when backing out of a driveway. The car backing out of the driveway has an obligation to look before backing up. Since the car backing up was moving when the accident happened, the driver must not have been paying enough attention to see the other car.

As a result, the car backing out of the driveway will usually be at fault. But the car driving down the roadway may also have some fault. This car has the right of way. But the driver can still have some fault if the driver was not paying attention, was speeding, and or could have taken evasive action to avoid the accident.

How to Avoid a Car Accident When Backing Up

You are in control of your vehicle when you are backing up. There is no need to rush because you have not yet entered the roadway. So before you begin moving, you have plenty of time to assess the traffic behind you. If you have a backup camera, make sure you look into it before moving.

But don’t let the backup camera be a substitute for actually turning your head and looking. Your peripheral vision will have a wider view of potential dangers. Take the time to look both ways for an extended period of time before moving. This will give you an opportunity to see vehicles that have the right of way and determine if you have enough time to back up safely.

Once you begin to back up, do so slowly. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to inch out and stop several times to look. The important thing is to continue to look towards the direction of traffic to make sure you continue to have the right of way.

If you are the driver of the car with the right of way, you can’t just blindly drive in reverse. Continue to scan both sides of the roadway for vehicles that might back up. In addition, make sure you are driving at a safe speed.

Florida injury lawyer Scott Distasio If you have been injured in an automotive accident, contact one of our dedicated Florida car accident lawyers near you now for a free consultation. We also have offices in Wesley Chapel and Largo.


Our main office is here in Downtown Tampa, Florida in the Channelside neighborhood. Office in Wesley Chapel and Largo are available by appointment only.

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