Each driver involved in a reversing accident may have a unique perspective about how fast either vehicle was traveling, how far apart both vehicles were and other aspects of the crash. That is why it can be difficult to determine fault for these collisions.
While it is true that the driver who was backing up is often at fault, this is not always the case. If you were backing up and a car hit you, or you were moving forward and got hit by a reversing car, you need an experienced lawyer to carefully evaluate the situation and determine liability.
Our Windsor-based car accident lawyers are ready to assist you with the legal process, at no upfront cost to you. We secure compensation for those injured in auto accidents.
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Evaluating Fault For Reversing Collisions
Every car accident needs to be evaluated on its own to determine what happened and who may be at fault. Some of the questions that likely need to be answered include:
- Who had the right of way at the time of the crash? This is a central factor in determining liability for just about any type of collision. This is because one driver involved in the collision likely had the right of way and the other did not. In a backing up accident, the passing driver usually has the right of way.
- Were both cars moving at the time of the collision? If the driver of the vehicle who was backing up came to a stop before the collision, the passing driver may be to blame. If both cars were moving, it raises questions about whether the passing driver was speeding or distracted.
- Where did both vehicles suffer damage? You can often work backward from crash damage to determine why the collision happened and who may be at fault.
- Were there any witnesses? If someone else witnessed the crash, and this person’s account lines up with one of the driver’s accounts, it may be easier to prove the case.
- Was the approaching/passing driver speeding? While the driver who is backing up is often at fault, there are mitigating factors. For example, the approaching driver may have been speeding. He or she may have been able to avoid a collision, but he or she was distracted.
- Did the approaching driver honk his or her horn? A honking horn provides a warning to the reversing driver. It is reasonable for the driver to react to the horn to avoid a collision.
Is the Driver Who Was Backing Up Always to Blame?
The driver who is backing up is not always at fault, but these drivers are often at fault. This is because the other driver often has the right of way. For example, if the crash happened in a parking lot, the driver in the feeder lane or thoroughfare had the right of way. This is stated in Ontario’s Fault Determination Rules (Rule 19).
The statements above may come as a surprise to you because many people assume fault is shared between both drivers because both cars were in motion. This is sometimes referred to as the 50-50 myth. While there are cases where drivers share fault, one driver often bears most of the fault.
When Could the Passing/Approaching Driver be Liable?
Despite what is stated above, the passing driver may still be partially at fault. If there is a lot of room in the feeder lane and the passing driver had plenty of space to avoid the reversing car, the passing driver may be 100 percent at fault. This is especially true if the driver in the feeder lane was negligent in some other way, such as by driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding, impaired by drugs or alcohol, distracted, or drowsy.
What if You Are Backing Out of a Driveway?
Drivers need to exercise great caution when backing up, particularly if they are reversing onto a road with fast-moving traffic. While it would be nice if approaching drivers moved over to make it easier for you to back up, the truth is they are not required to do so.
If an approaching driver changes lanes at the last second, and this causes a crash, the reversing driver may still be at fault.
What if Both Cars Were Backing Up?
Determining who had the right of way in this situation can be difficult. It often depends on how far both drivers backed up. If another car had almost finished backing up, and you hit them while backing up, you may be 100 percent to blame. This is because you had the ability to prevent a crash, and it would not have occurred without your negligence.
Tips on Avoiding a Crash When Backing Up
If you are backing up, you need to do so cautiously. Check behind you and to your left and right for approaching cars. While you can use your backup camera, you should also physically look behind you to make sure it is safe to back up.
Avoid backing up too quickly. Take your time and keep checking behind you, as you cannot trust other drivers to use caution to avoid a collision.
If you are approaching another car that is backing up, give the car as much space as you reasonably can. If you are in a parking lot, wait for the car to finish backing up before proceeding through the feeder lane. You also need to keep your eyes on the road and avoid distractions, like your smartphone.
Give Us a Call After a Reversing Crash. No Upfront Fees
If you were injured, you may be eligible to recover compensation for medical care, lost wages and other damages.
The legal process can be complicated, and not just because the insurance company is working against your interests. You need an experienced lawyer to assist you, because taking on the process on your own is too much to ask. Those who hire lawyers often obtain more compensation than those who do not.
There are zero upfront fees. Contact us today: (866) 320-4770.