Who's at fault in this accident?

I got into an accident in the parking garage at school today and I’m curious who’s at fault.

Here’s the situation. On the second to top floor of a parking garage at my school (top being closed due to a ton of snow) I was the third in a line of four cars waiting to turn around after finding out that that the garage was full (imagine we’re all facing north). The first two cars pulled into a handicapped space at the end of the row and turned around and left and I was getting ready to pull into the handicapped space to turn around as well when someone came out of the stairwell. I asked if he was leaving and he said yes and he then headed for a spot that would be to the west. At this point instead of pulling into the handicapped space I backed up and was getting ready to turn to follow the guy when I heard a car horn and stopped for a second and looked around but I didn’t see anyone; since I was in a parking garage and it echoes I couldn’t tell where it was coming from and not seeing anyone assumed it was for someone else and proceeded to go ahead with my turn to follow the person going to their car.

As it turns out there was a person who parked in a handicapped spot opening west (mine was opening south) and was waiting for a spot to open. This was the person who honked, and he had done so to let me know he had been waiting. He came out of the space and I didn’t discover this until I hit him. I hadn’t pulled back very far at all and it should’ve been obvious I was getting ready to turn (I had nowhere else to go) but this guy had come out anyways.

So who’s at fault? Did this guys honking give me ample warning even though I had no idea it was directed at me, or should the guy have waited until I was entirely clear before he came out?

For the record the guy claimed I was at fault but there was no damage done to his vehicle, whereas I shattered the lenses on my headlight and turn signal, so he was willing to let the whole thing slide. Oh, and the person who was behind me pulled off so no witnesses.

I think your saying “I hit him” is a good clue that it was your fault.

Sorry dude, you must be in control of your car at all time. I am not saying you are the devils spawn for hitting the guy, but it was most certainly your fault. If you want to get new lights, I’d go to a salvage yard to get them and count yourself lucky the guy wasn’t a dick about it.

Except if you take another look at that situation he came out of my blind spot. My intention to move forward was clear.

And yes, I may be grasping. That’s why I put it up on the board so I could get some objective opinions. Maybe I should just count my blessings.

I thought the car in the moving lane has r-o-w over cars leaving a parking space?

That was my inital thought too. Just to clarify – he was backing out of a parking space that he was idling in while waiting for another spot – you were in the process of making a turn and then collided? I should think that he would be at fault for not checking to see if he was clear before backing up.

Actually he was parked facing out, but I’m thinking its the same difference. I also don’t understand why some people claim that just because I hit him it’s my fault; if someone runs a red light and you hit them then it’s their fault.

To clarify here’s why I think it might be my fault:

He honked his horn.

He was vaguely in front of me when I hit him. I was probably at a forty-five degree angle when I struck him near the front of his vehicle.

Id call it even and carry on. Since this matter wont be reported to the cops or the insurance, it doesnt really matter whos at fault.

Just for fun, I would say it was his fault for not letting the traffic clear before entering the driving lane. Beeping doesn`t give him the OK to pull out, it may merely signal an intention, in which case he would have to wait to safely execute.

It didnt matter whether he honked his horn or not. You as the person coming into the lane must make sure that you are safe to enter it. He was there before you, you hit him, your fault.

If the other person was parked into a handicapped spot, and you were in the lane, then he must yield right-of-way to you. Not to mention that he was parked in a Handicapped spot, and (seeing as how he was waiting for a clear spot to open up, I’d assume that he did not have Handicapped plates/permit) illegally at that. Had he just pulled in to turn around, this would have nothing to do with it, though it would still be his fault for not yielding right-of-way to you in the driving lane, but you did say he was parked there and waiting, which was therefore illegal. You, however, did not pull into a parking spot, and were still in the driving lane already.

If I’ve got all that information correct, I’d say it’s his fault.

Not an expert, but my understanding is that there is generally a rebuttable presumption that a driver should have his vehicle under sufficient control to avoid striking something.

And you did say that you struck him. Was he stopped at the time? Sorry, but I’m having a really hard time envisioning exactly how this incident played out.

You were traveling at minimal speeds in a parking garage. You should have been alert for unusual things - tight corners, people pulling in and out of spaces, etc. Moreover, the deck was under construction, and you were making a turn yourself, rather than simply following marked traffic patterns (I acknowledge that the way the deck was set up made your turn necessary.)

So off the cuff I’d say you would have to convince me why you should not have been expected to see him and avoid him.

Here ya go - the parking garage was liable for setting up the construction as they did. And the municipality that gave the building permit. And the car manufacturers who did not anticipate your doing this sort of maneuver. Etc. ad infinitum.

Always look for the deep pockets. :wink: