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Determining liability on parking lot accident

by Alexandra
(Los Angeles, CA)

Last month, I was involved in a parking lot accident. I was pulling out of a slanted parking space and was almost done reversing when I felt the impact from another car. I was looking back at the time (in the direction I was going) so I did not see the car at all.

The front left side of my car has $800 worth of damage. The other driver said it was a "freak accident" were no one was at fault and we shouldn't involve insurance, but I insisted that we do and got his information after drawing a diagram of where we were each parked.

I called my insurance and made a statement, but somehow they wrote down the wrong information and thought we backed up into each other. Since they believed the accident was "rear to rear", they agreed with the other driver's insurance that the responsibility was 50/50.

When I told them they had the wrong information, they said they couldn't help me any further because my damage was lower then my deductible.

When I called the other party's insurance to let them know that I was hit in the front, not in the back, they said it didn't make a difference and they maintained their 50/50 decision.

It seems to me the place of impact makes a big difference since being hit in the front side suggests the other car backed into me
(the other car has no damage because it is much bigger then mine, which could explain why the other driver didn't see me backing up).

My question is - Is this a typical 50/50 case like the other party's insurance suggests or are they just taking advantage of the fact my insurance won't fight for me?

What do you think a neutral adjuster would say?

Thank you for all your help. I really appreciate it.


Hello Alexandra,

you are 100% correct when you state: "It seems to me the place of impact makes a big difference"

It makes a huge difference. The point of impact can tell who was is more at fault. The position of the vehicles and more importantly, which statement is more credible.

Usually, parking lot accidents are not 100% one side or 100% the other side. They have some kind of split fault. Your case might be an 80/20 or something like that. You could be O% at fault, but I am not sure without looking at all the evidence.

Your insurance company MUST still help you out!

They must advocate for you! If the other side is saying that this is a 50% split, this means that you are liable for 50% of their damages. Your liability coverage must protect you against this (note, liability is not subject to deductibles, only collision).

Ask them to help you. Talk to a manager. If they do not help you, report them to the office of the insurance commissioner.

I hope this helps,

Good Luck

Comments for Determining liability on parking lot accident

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Apr 11, 2011
How did you resolve this issue?
by: Chris

Sort of the same thing happend to me last week. I had completly backed out of my driveway onto the street into the lane of traffic when I noticed my neighbor, who lives directly across the street, backing toward me. She didn't see me or hear me blarring my horn in warning and hit my drivers side door with her back right bumper. Her insurance company says they believe her story that we were backing at the same time and didn't each other. But that's obviouslly not true. Additionally, there is not scraping or scratching on my car, just a big fat dent. Because I was not moving or backing at the time.
My insurance company is going to take it to arbitration, but in the mean time (up to a year of waiting) I will have to pay half my deductable and car rental, while my car has over $4000 of repairs done. How did your case resolve itself. Did you go to small claims court? Thank you for your time.

Dec 18, 2009
Should I file a small claim with the court
by: Alexandra

My insurance says they can't help me because the other driver has no damages so the liability insurance doesn't come into play. Apparently, my only recourse is filing a claim with the local court. I only want to do that if I'm sure that the responsibility is not 50/50. Where can I find a neutral adjuster who will tell me for sure?

Thank you.


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