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Parking Lot Accident - Little Damage - Who is at fault?

by Jane Miller

parking lot accident

I pulled into a parking spot at Target and bumped the corner of the rear bumper of the car next to me. When I got out, I noticed that they were parked crooked. I waited for them and wrote down my info (phone # etc...)

No damage to my car...a few scratches to their bumper. The police were not called and no insurance info was exchanged.

Now they are saying that there is $470 worth of damage to their car...dings and scratches. There were no dings. Could they be responsible for part of the cost since they were not parked properly?

I could have left, but did not. I did the right thing and now it seems that I am being punished. There was $470 worth of damage. I do want to get my own estimate, but are they liable for any of it?


Hi Jane,

Well, they could be liable. But it would be very very hard to win in a court of law or even an insurance claim. The reality of the matter is that a vehicle that is there, clearly to be seen, even if over the lines, the other driver has no responsibility for the accident (it would be hard to prove causation).

The issue really depends in the concept of causation. Was the fact the were parked over the line the factual cause of the end damage? But for they not parking in that fashion, would they still be hit? Was it foreseeable that the damage to their bumper would occur if they parked like that?

Or did the accident happen because you did not see them? But for you backing in that fashion, would the accident happened? Depends on many factors but you need to evaluate that.

Even if you can prove that they were over the lines, their vehicle was still there to be seen. Equally, you have to show that they were over the line. This can be very difficult, no police report, no witnesses, no evidence.

Regarding the damages, $470 worth of damage does not seen excessive these days. If there is a scratch that needs to be painted, then the entire bumper must come down and put back on, then they must prime it, paint it to match the car. Sometimes the car must be on the shop for a day or two so the paint dries out.

Most shops charge about $40 to $65 hour of labor (depending in where you are), plus the paint and the storage of the vehicle. $470 can be easily achievable.

We are not saying to blindly pay what they give you. You can
1. file an insurance claim with your own insurance company and have them deal with them directly


2. review the estimate yourself and see if they are fixing just a bumper and not the hood! You know, these things happen.

Good Luck

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