The Keating Firm has been purchased by Kisling, Nestico & Redick, a personal injury law firm serving all of Ohio. Visit Site >
top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?

Most car accidents make it easy to determine who is at fault in the situation. However, an accident when backing up can be an exception. In fact, there is no right-of-way answer to know who is at fault for the accident. Instead, you need to consider the situation by looking at evidence and how the backing-up car made contact.

Accidents caused by backing up can occur anywhere, especially parking lots and driveways, and there are different situations in which either driver can be the one to blame.

Who is at fault when backing up

How to Know Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up

Which Car Was Moving?

In an accident when backing up, the moving car is almost always at fault. An accident occurs when a moving vehicle collides with another vehicle (whether it is also in motion or not). It is very difficult to make a case that the moving vehicle or the vehicle backing up is free from any fault.

Who Had the Right of Way?

Most often, right-of-way rules determine that the car with the right of way is not at fault. Instead, the other driver is guilty of negligence and not paying attention to the rules of the road. However, sometimes the car with the right of way can be found at fault--particularly if the driver backing up with the go-ahead is not paying attention or is speeding. This is similar to who is at fault in a car accident t-bone.

Evidence from the Scene

While the moving car and the right of way rules help determine the fault of the collision, a law firm or an attorney may need further information about the backing accident to take successful legal action. Evidence such as witnesses and damage are all details that can also play a role in determining fault.


Witnesses are critical pieces in determining fault, especially once legal action has begun. Each driver in the backing traffic accident can have some sort of bias, so witness statements can be most helpful for accidents in which a car backing up causes the collision. They can also help if a victim is fighting for personal injury compensation. Witnesses can also be beneficial when determining who is at fault in a car accident changing lanes.


Damage is not only a representation of the severity of a backing accident but also an inside clue in determining fault. Damage from an accident can also show whether the collision could have been avoidable. Damage also gives solid examples as to how much the victim should be paid.

What If the Incident Takes Place in a Parking Lot?

One of the most common sites for car accidents to occur is in parking lots. It is also very common for one car to back out into an oncoming traffic lane. As for parking lot accidents, they do not look much different than any other car accident when backing up. While they tend to be mild in damage and personal injury, there can be some confusion about who gets the fault. Here are some of the typical situations for backing accidents in parking lots--and who is most deserving of the fault.

Car Backs Out Into a Parked Car

When one car backs out of a parking space and hits a parked vehicle, determining fault is fairly obvious. Since a parked car has almost no control over the outcome of a collision, the driver backing their car out bears the brunt of the fault--if not all of it. In other words, the parked one has the technical right of way in this situation.

There are situations in which a parked vehicle can bear some of the fault. If the damaged car is parked illegally or sat in an undesignated parking space, then the crash could be their entire fault, thus eliminating their right-of-way privilege. It is difficult to say because there are different pieces to consider when determining fault. Overall, the judgment usually goes in favor of who was following the rules and was driving without negligence.

Car Collides with a Moving Vehicle

A parking lot accident can occur with a vehicle backing out of a parking space and hitting a passing car. This is a typical result of negligence or backing out too quickly. Cars that back out of parking spaces must always yield to the moving cars behind them, as they have the right of way.

These sorts of backing accidents are usually on the shoulders of drivers who back out and into the moving vehicle. Again, there is always a chance of the blame being overturned on the other party, specifically if the driver in the moving car did not have the right of way. When looking to see who is guilty in a car accident, the fault falls on the driver without the right of way, but there can be cases when the car backing out of the parking spot gets off free.

Two Cars Collide When Backing Out of a Parking Space

This is a trickier situation because both vehicles are backing out of their respective parking spots. Since there is no clear way to determine who had the right of way, these types of backing accidents end with both drivers sharing the fault.

Since no one car gets all the culpability, there could be a disruption in compensation for both drivers involved. This can also mean that a settlement may be dropped.

What If the Accident Takes Place From a Driveway or In a Traffic Lane?

The same rules apply as if the automobile were in a parking lot. These types of situations favor whichever driver had the right of way. Vehicles that break a driving law during the accident are most likely the ones to take the fault.

What to do after an accident

What to Do In the Event of a Car Accident When Backing Up

A car accident when backing up is often a nuisance for the paperwork and legal issues that follow. Some drivers also get confused about whether they should contact the police or not if the accident is only minor. Here is what to do after a backing accident.

Check that You and All Passengers Are Safe

After the collision, the driver needs to make sure that they are okay before all other passengers. You cannot help anyone while suffering a major injury. After, verify that all the passengers involved are safe too.

Get to a safe place once you know that everyone else is okay. If you are in the road after someone backs into you, try to pull over. If you are in a parking lot, go to an area with fewer cars and pedestrians.

Assess Damage and Call the Police

Look to see the damage of the automobile involved in the crash. If there are minor impairments that don't disrupt the appearance or the function of the car, you may be able to yield from calling the police. However, if there are injuries to you or any passengers, you should make contact.

As you wait for law enforcement to arrive, sit in a safe place, whether it is inside the car or outside and away from any traffic lane. Try to avoid tending to any injuries. If they are serious enough, allow medics and professionals to take care of any victim involved in the car accident.

Exchange Contact Information with the Other Driver and Document the Scene

An accident resulting in at least one of the drivers backing into another typically produces minor damage and injuries. If you decide to call law enforcement, you should exchange contact information with the other driver. You can also get their insurance, which helps a lot for the future.

Some specific information that drivers should get includes the name of the driver, their phone number, insurance company and policy number, and the driver's license number. As for the vehicles, drivers must record the license plate number, and the make, model, and color. The location in which the car accident occurs is also critical.

This is also the time to use your phone to take photos of the collision. Be safe while you snap images and stay away from lanes of traffic. Vehicles should not be speeding around you, but they may overlook you while you wait for the police.

If you seek legal help in the future, you may also want to talk to any witnesses, write down the names of the officers who showed up on the scene, and request a copy of the accident report.

Communicate with Your Insurance Company

Once all is settled at the scene, and each injury is tended to, it is time to communicate with your insurance. You can also make contact directly after the accident occurs to take the proper next steps. From there, you can begin the phase involving compensation since repairs are not free.

Look for a Lawyer (If Needed)

The final step includes looking for a lawyer. However, this is not necessary for every backing accident. If fair compensation was not granted or if the improper drivers received all the fault, contacting a law firm can help make things right.

Backing accidents can make it hard to determine who is at fault, but legal advice from an attorney can improve the chances of getting a more satisfying outcome.

Get the Proper Compensation

There are a ton of laws involving traffic violations and who has the right of way, making the process of determining fault in a backing accident more difficult--and increasing the likelihood of injustice.

If you feel the wrong vehicles have taken the fault in your car accident and were granted the right of way, call our phone number today. Receive a free consultation and learn more about how an attorney can bring justice to your backing traffic accident.


bottom of page