Drivers who violate traffic patterns by failing to yield the right-of-way to others are usually at fault in a car accident. This includes accidents that occur when a vehicle is backing up.
Therefore, understanding the right-of-way laws in your area can help you determine who is at fault in a car accident when backing up. Our firm can lead the investigation in your case and fight to prove your right to compensation if another driver caused your collision.
Determining Who Has the Right-of-Way in Backing Up Car Accidents
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) Class D & E Driver’s Guide states that drivers should always physically turn their heads to check behind them before backing up, in addition to checking their mirrors. These checks are necessary so that the driver can yield the right-of-way to other vehicles as needed. The following sections describe common accident scenarios involving this driving maneuver.
Vehicles Backing Out of Parking Spaces and the Right-of-Way
One of the most common car accidents that involves backing up occurs when one vehicle reverses out of a parking space. In a parking lot, drivers backing out should look to see if any other cars are approaching or already backing up.
Since the moving car has the right-of-way, a driver who begins to back up without looking is likely to be at fault for any accidents that occur. However, the other vehicle’s driver may also be at least partially at fault in some circumstances.
Backing Up Accidents Involving a Parked or Otherwise Stationary Vehicle
When only one vehicle was moving when an accident happened, the driver of the moving vehicle is likely at fault for the crash. For example, this scenario might occur if a driver hits a parked vehicle while backing out of a parking place or driveway. Even if a driver reverses into a car that is parked crookedly across the parking space lines, they may still be at fault since those lines are only there for guidance.
Vehicles Backing Into Oncoming Traffic
If you are backing a vehicle into oncoming traffic, you generally must yield the right-of-way to cars already on the road. The vehicle or vehicles traveling in the lane of traffic you seek to enter have the right-of-way. In most cases, the driver who is backing up will be at fault if a collision occurs.
When Vehicles Collide While Backing Up Simultaneously
In a busy parking lot, it is not unusual for two or more vehicles to be backing out of parking spots close to one another. This situation can easily lead to a crash if the drivers are not looking out for others. Since drivers who are backing up have a duty to look before they reverse to avoid hitting other vehicles, both drivers in this situation could be partially at fault for causing the crash.
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Situations in Which the Driver Backing Up May Not Be Totally At Fault
Although it seems like the driver who is reversing is usually at fault when an accident occurs, there are times when the other driver shares some blame. For example, a driver could be partially at fault for any resulting accidents if they were:
- Speeding through the parking lot
- Driving while intoxicated
- Trying to go around a reversing vehicle
- Otherwise failing to follow traffic laws
Backing Up Car Accidents Can Lead to Significant Damages
Although many of these car accidents occur in parking lots when one or both vehicles are operating at slow speeds, significant injuries and property damage can still happen. Moreover, even if a car shows minor property damage, the vehicle’s occupants may still have suffered severe injuries. Injury victims could have a legal case if they have proof of another driver’s fault.
You May Be Entitled to Damages for Your Financial Losses
When you file a claim or lawsuit, you may be able to recover a host of damages, such as:
- Health care costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced ability to earn
- Car damage or destruction
- Long-term care
- Replacement services for home tasks
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices and equipment
- Other expenses due to your car accident
Your backing up accident compensation is directly related to your economic losses. Recovering economic damages is essential to making you whole again. A car accident lawyer on our team will work diligently to investigate your case and gather the evidence to prove the other party was at-fault. We will also compile the appropriate documentation to illustrate your accident-related expenses, including:
- Hospital records
- Health care bills
- Income statements
- Documentation of time off work from your employer
- Financial records
- Property repair or replacement estimates
- Other valuation documents and estimates
You May Be Able to Collect Pain and Suffering Damages in Your Car Accident
The compensation you receive in your car accident claim will likely be much higher if it also includes non-economic damages. These damages are calculated based on injuries or losses unrelated to finances.
The term “pain and suffering” is used to describe these losses because your accident may have left you in mental, emotional, or physical agony. A jury or an insurance company typically assigns a financial value to these losses based on how they have impacted your life. Examples of pain and suffering damages include:
- Physical pain
- Psychological trauma
- Broken bones
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
Timeframes for Filing Car Accident Cases in Court
In Louisiana, CC Art. 3492 requires that injury victims file their lawsuits for car accident damages no more than one year from the date of their accidents. Failure to follow this deadline can result in losing the ability to pursue any compensation for injuries.
Fortunately, you do not have to go through this process alone. If you hire our team to represent you, one of our first tasks will be determining the filing deadline in your case. Then, we can begin to collect evidence that supports your claim for damages.
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How to Prevent Car Accidents When Backing Up
Backing up car accidents might be some of the simpler collisions to prevent. Drivers who are backing up or pedestrians looking to cross behind them should remain vigilant at all times.
Watching and waiting are the key elements to avoiding these highly preventable car accidents. Some tips for staying safe and avoiding accidents like these in parking lots and elsewhere include:
Remain Alert and Aware
Safe drivers are aware drivers. Checking and double checking your mirrors and blind spots before backing up greatly reduces the chances of backing into another car or a pedestrian. In addition, ridding yourself of distractions and avoiding getting behind the wheel when you are tired will boost your awareness and help prevent accidents.
Utilize Safety Technology
Newer car models come equipped with intuitive safety technology. Back-up sensors, cameras, or other assisted-driving features are designed to help reduce the risk of car collisions. While you may be used to driving without them, getting acquainted with this technology could save your life or someone else’s.
Check for Pedestrians
Pedestrians can seem to come out of nowhere when you’re backing up in your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to pay attention. Continuously check for pedestrians, cyclists, and small children as you back up and even utilize the help of passengers in your car who can see from a different vantage point.
Get Legal Advice About Your Car Accident Case Today
Determining who is at fault in a car accident when backing up is critical to building a case for compensation from the liable party or parties. If you can show that the other driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to hold them accountable for their negligence.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation with our team. We can examine the circumstances that led to your accident and help you pursue any damages for which you may be eligible.