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Fault Determination in a Parking Lot Accident

July 30, 2013

AccidentJust like an accident on the road, parking lot accidents vary greatly as to who will be found at fault. There are a number of factors that can go into who is at fault when an accident takes place in a parking lot, and many drivers find the rules confusing. Just like on the street, parking lots have right-of-way rules, but by their nature the accidents that happen there tend to be a little different.

Right-Of-Way In a Parking Lot

Drivers in parking lots tend to get a bit confused as to who has the right-of-way when traversing the lines of parking spots. A basic rule to follow is to consider what type of lane you are in. Parking lots have two basic types of lanes: thoroughfares and feeder lanes.

A thoroughfare is a lane that exits to a street. These tend to be wider and are the main arteries of the parking lot. Feeder lanes on the other hand are smaller lanes that end and begin at the thoroughfares. Those who are driving in a thoroughfare have the right-of-way over those coming out of feeder lanes. That means that you must stop and allow traffic in the thoroughfare to proceed before moving out of a feeder lane.

Similarly, anyone who is moving out of a parking space must yield to those who are driving through the lane. Just like a car coming out of a driveway onto a street, vehicles in a parking space do not have right-of-way over those already proceeding.

Finally, all stop and yield signs in a parking lot should be observed in the same way as on any street. Failure to obey posted signs can leave you at fault in a resulting accident.

Common Parking Lot Accidents

One of the most common accidents to occur in a parking lot is one in which a driver is backing out of a space and strikes another vehicle, whether moving or parked. A driver backing out of a parking space will usually be found at fault for an accident with one exception. In a case where two cars are backing out at the same time and strike each other, fault in the accident is likely to be shared.

Any situation in which you as a driver strike a legally parked vehicle will typically find you at fault. This includes backing into a parked car, striking a car with your door when opening it, or clipping it in the lot. If you leave the scene of an accident in which you struck a parked car without making an effort to contact the owner of the car, it can be considered a hit-and-run.

Unfortunately, pedestrians are also at risk in parking lots, as they are walking between stores and cars and are present in greater numbers than on the average street. It’s vital that all drivers be aware of the presence of pedestrians when driving in a parking lot.

How Insurance Companies Determine Fault

Just like an accident on the street, insurance companies will determine the fault in an accident based on all of the gathered facts about the incident. They will take statements and consider the damage to the vehicle.

Parking lots are subject to fault determination rules, which are predetermined guidelines by which adjusters can quickly determine fault. Cooperating and providing accurate information are the best things you can do to ensure a fair fault determination.

Just like with any other accident, you have the right to appeal the insurance company’s decision if you do not believe you are at fault. A third party mediator can be brought it to make an objective decision on the claim.

Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents

Cautious driving in a parking lot is the best way to avoid being involved in an at-fault accident – or any accident. Always slow down and drive more carefully in parking lots. There are many cars and pedestrians going in multiple directions in a large and busy lot, and it requires proceeding with extra caution.

Back out very slowly and watch for cars coming down the lane or backing out of other spots, as well as for pedestrians. It can be very difficult to see when backing out of a spot next to a large vehicle such as a van; when proceeding through the lanes watch for people who might be backing out with blind spots, and allow them to continue to back out slowly until they make eye contact with you. While they might be at fault in an accident, it’s up to all drivers to help stop preventable accidents.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that you will both be considered to be 50%b at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that since you were both reversing that you will both be considered to be 50% at fault for the accident.

    Thank you

  • tiggs

    Even though I was actually stopped and she backed into me?

  • pisssed guy

    I was reversing from a parking spot and someone came in fast and at the last minute when i was almost out of the parking spot I hit her car, she shouldn’t have been that close to me, she was trying to pass me. Who is at fault? Is it better to pay for her damages if its under my deductible instead of getting insurance involved?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Insurance adjusters use “Fault Determination Rules” under the insurance act to assess responsibility. The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website has these rules. You can check here to see if your scenario is there.
    http://www.ibc.ca/en/car_insurance/documents/brochure/on-fault-determination-rules.pdf

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It will likely be considered your fault. Paying for the other driver’s damage and not reporting to the insurance company is your decision. Remember that there is nothing stopping the other driver from reporting the damage even after you agree to pay.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time, the driver who is reversing is considered to be 100%at fault for the accident.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Again, typically the driver who is reversing is considered to be at fault.

    thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Unfortunately, since you were the driver who was reversing it is likely that you will be found to be at fault for this accident.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is usually the driver who is moving into traffic from a parking spot who is at fault.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    Most of the time, when both vehicles are reversing, the are both considered to be 50% at fault.
    Thanks

  • Raquel

    I was parked in a parking spot and there were at least 20 parking spots still available. A lady decided that she would park behind my car closest to the entrance vs parking in a spot further away from the entrance even though this area was not a designated parking area. Now I am being told that even though the other person was too lazy to walk and felt the need to park behind me I am 100 percent responsible for the accident. I feel that the other person could have avoided this accident had she parked in a parking spot.

  • Rios

    Yesterday night I was making a small wide turn into a whataburger and it was a one lane and there was no car behind and as I was turning I see a car drive right next to me (who was behind me) and I hit the car but she could avoided it but she stepped on the gas so I could miss it but since she did I hit her as I did the turn. Who’s fault is it and since it happen in a parking lot who’s fault is it? The cop told me the rule for that in Houston is different. And also she just started a fresh new insurance a couple weeks ago and I don’t have insurance so what wold happen?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am sorry but I am unfamiliar with Houston laws. You are best to check with an insurance professional.

    Thanks

  • Chaitu

    While backing out for two feet from the parking lot I stopped & looked into the rear view. Suddenly a spending car hit me my car on the rear bumper. I was still within the parking lane & car was stationary at the time of collision. Whose fault it this?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    The driver who is reversing is usually considered to be at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    most of the time it is the driver who is reversing that is considered to be at fault.

    Thanks

  • RMAC

    I was going straight in a parking lot, another vehicle made a right turn into the parking lot from the street and hit my front, passenger side of the vehicle. who is at fault?

  • Vin

    Hello tonight I was parked at Citibank and it has a throughland and feeder lanes. I was back out of a parking spot clearly no one was there. My car wa in reverse and foot was on the break because the car will roll normally in reverse. So I couldn’t have been doing more than 5 mph. Now this lady came out of a feeder land and turned into the throughlane where I was half out of already and she didn’t stop and hit me car so hard and all the damage was on her car. I live in ny

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time, parking lot accidents are a 50/50 split.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    Because you were reversing, it might be that you are at fault.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time the driver who is reversing is considered to be at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    That is typical. In parking lot accidents most of the time they are settled on a 50/50 split.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    If you have no witnesses It might be that the insurance company will settle it on a 50/50 basis.

    Thanks

  • Angry

    I had started to reverse a van sped behind me so i stopped – in the meantime the car on the otherside of me proceeded to reverse, i saw her so i continued to stay stopped to allow her to see me. She was not looking and procceded to pull back way out more then she should have and she hit me. who is at fault? i also have a witness my office manager was there. Now she is saying she doesn’t want to go through insurance but that it wasn’t her fault and i feel it was clearly her fault as if she would have been looking in the rearview mirror or side mirrors even for a second she would have seen me. again i had started to pull out and stopped about 30cm to allow the speeding van to pass by. then continued to stay still as the rest proceeded.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    Usually if both vehicles are reversing the insurance company with say it’s 50/50 but If your witness will state that you were stopped then the insurance company might say that you were not at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that you will be considered 50% at fault since you and the other driver were both reversing.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    You would be considered to be at fault for this since you were reversing.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    It might be that it’s a 50/50 split in responsibility

  • Aw

    I was in a parking lot, I was backing into a parking spot my reverse lights were on and no one was behind me.. As I went to reverse into the spot a car pulled right up behind me literally so close that once I took my foot of the brake to reverse there was probably 2 seconds before I hit her front bumper that’s how close she was to me, she never even had time to blow her horn she was that close.

  • Katelynn

    The other day I was waiting to exit a parking lot and a car began to enter and came on to my side of the entry way so I backed up some to give them room and a car came up behind me and hit the back end of my car… who would be at fault here ?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that you are at fault since you were reversing.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    If you have a witnesses have them let your insurance company know that the attendant waived you through. it might help.

  • Marty Zappa

    two cars both backing out of a small parking lot would that not be a 50/50 fault and if so that means he pays his damage and I pay mine?

  • Confused

    My car was parked on the street and this lady coming out from her driveway hit my car. Whose at fault here? There wasn’t any sign showing that I can’t park there or anything. I wasn’t even parked in front of her driveway because I’m parked at the other lane in front of her driveway.

  • Jane

    I drove out of the parking lot and turned the wrong direction without realizing. I’d just drove over a couple of lots then realized I was in the wrong direction and stopped. Before I could do anything, a car backing out drove into my driver’s door. I am at fault for being in the wrong direction?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Yes it would likely be a 50/50 split. Check with your insurance company to see how they handle that.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    If you were legally parked then it is likely that the other driver is at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    It is likely that you will be found to be at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Since you were both reversing, it is likely that you will both be found 50% at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Unfortunately since you were both reversing and if there are no witnesses you both might be considered to be 50% at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello
    It is likely that they are both 50% at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    sorry I misunderstood…unless there are witnesses who can corroborate that you were moving forward at the time you were rear-ended it is likely that both drivers will be 50% at fault.
    In parking lots it’s often a case of he said/she said.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time, the driver who is reversing who is at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    the majority of the time it is the driver who is reversing is at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It might be that the driver and you are both partially responsible.

    thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It’s different between provinces. In Ontario that would be considered a not at fault loss and your insurance company would pay to repair your vehicle.Check with your insurance professional to see how they handle it.
    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    it might be that you will both be considered 50% at fault since you were both in the process of reversing.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    It is likely that you are at fault since you were reversing.

    Thanks

  • Alex

    Hi, a car recently reversed into the rear of my car whilst I was parked. Unfortunately the very rear of my car was slightly outside my bay (I have quite a long car) and into the bay the other driver was trying to reverse into. Anyway, the driver is now refusing to pay for the damage done. Who is at fault here? Obviously my car wasn’t parked perfectly, or does it matter as long as I was completely parked and not moving?

    Thanks, Alex

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time the vehicle that is parked is considered to be not at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It might be that she would be responsible to pay for the damage. It would not be paid out under her auto policy.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Since you were both reversing, you are likely both 50% at fault

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Since you were both reversing it is likely that you will both be found to be 50% at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Good question. it might be that her insurance company is trying not to pay her. Provide any proof that you have that you were not at fault to both your and her insurance companies.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    The majority of the time, the driver who is reversing is found to be at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time parking lot accidents are settled on a 50/50 fault basis.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You can try to argue but adjusters typically follow the fault determination rules as outlined in the insurance act.

  • Adam

    Hi I was reversing into a parking spot, then someone tried reversing as well and hit my car. I was almost in the spot. Who is at fault?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Since both drivers were reversing, it is likely that you will both be found to be 50% at fault.

  • Mike Le

    I was at a shopping centre and was going to go home. I was in the feeder lane waiting for the car that’s coming on my right to pass. The was another car coming from the left that indicated to enter the feeder lane I was on. He did not wait for that car on the right to pass and quickly turned right into where I was – hitting my right back bumper with the right side of his car. Now he is suing me for around 1 thousand dollars in damages.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    SInce it was in a parking lot it might be that you will both be considered to be 50% at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    If you were not moving it is likely that the driver who hit you was at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    If you have a police report, provide it to the adjuster. The adjuster will then know that you were not at fault and you will not see an increase in your premium.

  • Desiree Fedyk

    Hi,

    I have a question about a parking lot incident that happened back in January. The weather was poor with blizzard like conditions. I had gotten ready to back out of my stall, making sure to check around me to see that it was clear before proceeding. I could see that our neighbor was in her stall getting ready to go but hadn’t moved yet. As I was about 3/4 of the way out of my stall, she gunned it to try and get past me. She must not have seen the 4ft snow drift and ended up stuck, since she was there so fast, I ended up backing up into her. She then got mad and started yelling that I hit her. Not only that but she accused me of trying to take off. Since it was a rushed thing, we both left for work, agreeing to talk about it later on. A week later her boyfriend came over asking for money for the bumper, saying that they didn’t want to go through insurance b/c she had other accidents and that it would be too costly. No pictures were taken, no damage at all to our vehicle, nothing done until now, ten months later. They are now full force harassing us to figure out a way to get money to them or go through our insurance. The entire thing makes me uneasy. What should I do?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    It might make sense for you to contact your insurance broker for advice on how you should proceed. You may want to make a claim so that it doesn’t get any more uncomfortable with your neighbour.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It might be that since you were reversing that you may be at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    This might be a 50/50 split in responsibility since both of you were moving and you were reversing.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    It sounds like the driver who was reversing is at fault but since you were not legally parked it might be that you are both partially responsible.

  • brit

    I was at a small local grocery store with no parking lines whatsoever. I was 2 to 3 cars down from the vehicle involved in the accident. I pulled out of my spot and up to the street to turn. I was directly behind the other vehicle when I was rearended. I was hit in the direct center of my vehicle. I may have been moving slightly as I was pulling up to the street to turn. The other vehicle did not honk their horn or have their brake lights on. Who is at fault?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is most likely the driver who rear ended you who is at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It probably will not make any difference.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It might be that you are at fault since you were reversing.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It might be that you will both be considered to be50% at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    The majority of the time, the driver who was reversing is considered to be at fault.

  • suzanne helman

    just this this morning, I was backing out of a shopping center parking space. No car was in my visible view, so i proceeded to back. then all of a sudden i backed into a passing car, who i am sure was trying to get past me instead of waiting until i finished backing out.I am sure you will say it is my fault, but with the inside backing camera i know she was not there when i started to back out, still my responsibility a 100%?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You are correct, the majority of the time the driver who is reversing is considered to be at fault.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It might be 50/50 split if there are no witnesses.

  • Acacia brown

    And if there were witnesses? Someone was in my passenger seat and another man saw what happened

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    It might help your case if the witnesses can provide a statement to the police.

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