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Who is negligent?

by Matt
(Los Angeles, CA)

This is a view of the truck and gate to the parking lot from which I pulled out of

This is a view of the truck and gate to the parking lot from which I pulled out of

I just moved into a private residence in Los Angeles, and was pulling out of the house's parking lot when I was hit by a pickup truck which was backing up. The parking lot is connected to an alley behind the house. The pickup truck was not there when I manually opened the gate for the parking lot, but even still I pulled out slowly.

I know that in general the responsibility is mine when leaving private property. However, there are several points to this that I'm not sure of. First, the truck backed into me, I did not hit the truck. The driver of the other vehicle was backing up to a garbage container to pull out to his sanitation truck.

There's an overgrown hedge that completely obscures the view through the fence that surrounds the parking lot. Also, I was pulling out into an alley and not a street. There was no apparent damage to the pickup truck as he hit me with his steel lift attachment, but there was significant damage to the bumper of my car. Thanks in advance for your assistance.


Well. I believe that the duty is on the vehicle backing, in particular a commercial vehicle with a gate like that. The plants, gates, wall would be blocking the view of the vehicle backing, which, in my opinion, only make the driver of the truck more at fault.

You did not state where in you car you were hit (bumper – front or rear?) This would make a difference, the farther to the back of your car, the more negligence on the truck driver.

You have a duty to look out when you are entering a drive way (read the California statute), however, you have the visibility blocked, which might completely excused you. It is also my understanding that when commercial vehicles are backing that they have to put a cone and have some kind of backing alarm. I am not 100% on that one, but your adjuster might be able to help you.

I believe you have the upper hand on this one. If they back up into you, they probably owe you more.

I hoe this helps,

Good Luck, and thanks for the picture.

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