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Right of Way Backing Out of a Parking Space

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who says: “I was pulling into a store parking lot and a guy backing out of a parking space hit me. The store has a video of the crash. But the insurance carrier says I am at fault. What are my legal options?”

Parking lot accidents are common.

Who has the right of way when someone is backing out of a parking space? — It depends.

Parking lots often have driving lanes and then smaller arteries that feed to individual parking spaces.

The driving lanes allow people to enter and exit a street or access road.

In most situations, drivers operating in the driving lanes have the right of way.

People backing out of a parking space are expected to yield to anyone driving in the driving lane and even smaller arteries leading to individual slots.

If you back out, hitting a car moving behind you, you most likely will be found at fault for the crash.

But, suppose you were already halfway backed out, and a car speeds down the lane and hits you. In this circumstance, the driver speeding down the lane you are occupying may be found to be primarily at fault. The critical fact is because you already took control of the driving lane.

But where a backing driver backs into a moving car reasonably and carefully exercising the right of way in the driving lane, the person backing up will be held primarily at fault.

In the caller’s case, the video clip showed the caller pull into a lot where a person was three-fourths of the way backed out. The video showed that the caller simply ignored the backing driver. The caller was shocked when the tail end of the backing car caved in his car’s passenger side door.

In the caller’s case, the video put the caller primarily at fault. … He did not like our analysis.

When operating a car in a parking lot, a good rule of thumb is: drive defensively and respectfully. If you see someone mostly backed out in your through lane of travel, take a moment to yield to them and let them complete their maneuver safely.

A small courtesy can save everyone a lot of time and trouble.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”