I Hit a Car Pulling Out of a Driveway - Who Is at Fault? - Halifax Personal Injury Lawyer Blog (2022)

I Hit a Car Pulling Out of a Driveway - Who Is at Fault? - Halifax Personal Injury Lawyer Blog (1)

Imagine yourself driving down the street to work on a typical day. Suddenly, a car appears in front of you backing out of a driveway. You react, applying your brakes as hard as you can. Unfortunately, the other car is too close for you to stop in time and you hit the rear of it with a huge thump. You are jerked violently forward. You lose awareness of time for a short period. When you come to you feel dizzy and wonder if you sustained a concussion or suffered whiplash. Your chest hurts but you are glad you wore your seatbelt as without it you could have been sent hurtling through the windshield.

You have just been in a car accident.

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Now, put yourself in the position of the other car’s driver. Imagine you just finished placing your two-year-old daughter in the child safety seat in the back of the car. You pass over her favourite teddy bear which makes her smile. You close the door and hop into the driver’s seat. You shoot a glance at the dashboard clock and breathe a sigh of relief because unlike yesterday you are on time to drop your daughter off at the daycare a few blocks away. You glance at the roadway and all seems clear. You put the car in reverse and start backing out. Suddenly, you hear screeching tires and before you realize what is happening, glass shatters and your car gets pushed sideways. When you gather yourself the first thoughts you have are about your little girl in the back seat. You turn around, see her looking at you and notice she is crying a little but otherwise seems fine.

You have just been in a car accident.
This type of collision is quite common in Nova Scotia and results in claims for compensation routinely by either driver. In order to successfully make a claim for personal injury compensation it is important to understand what legal considerations exist to determine who is at fault for this type of collision.

Who is at fault?

Are you the car pulling out of the driveway?

Generally, a driver backing up onto a public street has a duty of care to look out for traffic on the street and to yield the right of way to it. Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act states in section 120(1) “The driver of a vehicle shall not back the vehicle unless such movement can be made in safety”. The Act also does not prevent a driver of a vehicle from backing his/her vehicle to the curb for purposes of loading or unloading items provided it is done so in compliance with standard road safety rules.

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Many driver safety courses teach that when backing up, you should hold the steering wheel firmly with a hand in the 12 o’clock position so you can perform a safety check scan over both shoulders for other vehicles or people. Vision is key when backing up so make sure you can perform the manoeuvre with clear sight lines for all oncoming vehicles. Many vehicles are now equipped with rear-view back-up cameras but the fact the car is equipped with this option does not negate the need to also look around the car as you perform the backing up.

If you enter a street without taking proper safety precautions you will likely be at fault for the collision unless the car moving down the street has also engaged in some conduct which violates safety standards. In that circumstance, both vehicles may share in being responsible for the collision and the compensation will be awarded proportionate to the percentage of responsibility each driver bears. It is the duty of the backing up vehicle to give an appropriate warning or signal before entering a roadway. Given the wording of the Motor Vehicle Act section 120 a greater duty is placed on the vehicle backing up to ensure the maneuver can be made safely.

Are you the car driving on the street?

Having the right of way does not, however, imply that in ALL situations, the driver of the car that is already driving on the street is exempt from all fault. The Motor Vehicle Act in section 100(1) states “Every person driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway or any place ordinarily accessible to the public shall drive or operate the same in a careful and prudent manner having regard to all the circumstances”.

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The Nova Scotia Driver’s Handbook states that users of the road have a duty to choose a safe speed to drive despite posted speed limits. They must drive in a manner that will not endanger the life, limb, or property of others.

To do so a driver must consider all of the circumstances present including following posted speed limits, the overall visibility [crest of a hill, bushes, trees etc, weather conditions existing such as fog, the level of traffic and whether the roadway is slippery due to ice, oil etc. Using common sense, the faster the car is moving, the farther ahead the driver must be able to see to allow enough distance for stopping when a hazard presents itself.

Should the driver of the car already on the roadway be deemed to have failed to heed the presence of a hazardous circumstance and adjust his speed accordingly some fault for the collision may be apportioned to him and the compensation entitlement adjusted on a percentage of fault basis.

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An example would be if you were driving above the speed limit in a residential neighborhood at a curve in the roadway and you collided with a car backing out of a driveway whose driver stated he had looked both ways before backing out and all seemed clear.

Nova Scotia’s Contributory Negligence Act – 0% to 100% fault

When assessing claims for compensation in personal injury claims – including but not being limited to car accidents – courts in Nova Scotia have legislation governing how to determine the degree of fault each side bears. The name of the legislation is the Contributory Negligence Act.

The Act states in section 3(1) “Whereby the fault of two or more persons damage or loss is caused to one or more of them, the liability to make good the damage or loss is in proportion to the degree in which each person was at fault but if having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is not possible to establish different degrees of fault, the liability shall be proportioned equally”.

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The wording of this section provides a lot of latitude with the court to assess the facts of each case when determining which percentage split to apply (if any). If the court can’t come up with a firm division the claim will be split 50/50. A phrase seen in many of these types of cases is the court assessing the “comparative blameworthiness” of the parties. Also, a healthy dose of common sense is apparent in the decision-wording.

Seek Legal Help

If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident involving a rear backing vehicle McKiggan Hebert is here to help. Their personal injury lawyers represent both automobile and truck accident victims to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
Contact McKiggan Hebert today at (877) 423-2050 or by filling out a contact form. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you have been injured.

FAQs

Am I at fault if I hit a car in front of me because he slammed on his brakes very suddenly? ›

Despite how unpredictably the driver or car in front of you slammed on their brakes, it is your liability as a driver not to hit him. As a matter of fact, the driver in front is responding to something in front of him.

Can I claim personal injury if the car accident was my fault? ›

Generally, if you are injured as a result of an accident that was your fault you will not be able to make a claim for compensation unless another person or organisation was also partly to blame for the accident.

What happens if you hit someone with your car but it was their fault? ›

If you live in a fault state, the person responsible for the accident will hold liability for anyone's injuries. The other driver would file a claim with your insurance company, and you or your car insurance will pay for losses. In a no-fault state, however, each party's auto insurance usually covers their losses.

Whose fault is it when hit from behind in car? ›

In the vast majority of road traffic collisions involving a driver who is hit from behind, the person driving the vehicle behind you is 'at-fault'. Even if the person in front of you slammed their brakes on for what you believe was no good reason, you would still be at-fault for the collision.

Is it always the driver behind fault? ›

In most cases, the vehicle at the back end or the pileup will be seen as largely responsible for the collision. However, in some cases the driver will be able to pursue claims against the other drivers if negligence is suspected.

What details do I need when someone hits my car? ›

The registration number of the cars involved. The driver's name, address and phone number. The driver's insurance details if you have them.

Can you claim whiplash if the accident was not your fault? ›

If you get whiplash after being in an accident that wasn't your fault, either as a driver or a passenger, you can make a whiplash claim on the at-fault driver's insurance. You can do this directly or via a 'no win, no fee' legal firm. This means they'll only take a cut of the money if you're successful.

What should you not say to your insurance company after an accident? ›

Even if you know the accident was your fault, don't say sorry or admit guilt at the scene as your insurer might have a clause about it. Exchange details with the other's involved and get in touch with your insurer to report the incident.

Will my insurance pay if I am at fault? ›

If you are considered at fault for an accident or loss, your insurer won't be able to recover their costs if they've paid for your repairs. Not only that, the third party or their insurer will probably claim back their own costs from your insurance company.

How do insurance companies decide who is at fault? ›

If the police do not decide who is at fault, or the insurance company disagrees, your insurance adjuster will investigate the accident and use the details to determine fault. The insurance company will use photos, maps, witness statements, medical records, and special algorithms to calculate fault.

How does car insurance work when you are not at fault? ›

If you are involved in an accident and found not to be at fault, the insurance of the responsible party will cover your costs. When you buy a motor insurance policy from an insurance company, you will get an insurance disc and a certificate of insurance.

How long does an insurance company have to investigate a claim? ›

Generally, the insurance company has about 30 days to investigate your auto insurance claim, though the number of days vary by state.

How can you damage a car without leaving evidence? ›

Sodium silicate can be poured through the oil fill and a car must be parked somewhere away from it until the damage has been done. Another way to ruin an engine without leaving any evidence is to put Bleach into the gas tank. Bleach will rust the engine components because it is high in chlorine.

Can you get pulled over for driving a damaged car? ›

Although it may not result in a direct fine, driving with a broken, missing or cracked wing-mirror can result in your vehicle being pulled over by the police. They have the right to issue you with a notice which requires repair within the next 14 days and failure to do so can result in further consequences.

What happens if you crash into the back of someone? ›

More often than not, if you drive into the back of someone, it will be classed as your fault. Rule number 126 of the Highway Code states that you should “leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down.”

You don't always have to file a claim for vehicle damage—you also have the option of paying the claim yourself.. As the at-fault driver, you and your car insurance will be responsible for the damages.. The claim works the same way, regardless of whether you hit a parked car on the road, in a parking lot, or in your driveway.. The property damage coverage provided by the liability portion of your car insurance will cover the damage to the other vehicle.. Even if only one vehicle is damaged, you could be surcharged at renewal due to the at-fault claim .. If you're concerned about a surcharge, talk with your insurance agent or claims adjuster to find out whether your car insurance carrier offers a threshold before surcharging your policy for an at-fault claim.. Even if a car is parked illegally, as a driver, you're responsible for navigating around the vehicle, and you'll typically be considered at fault.. Even if it's dark, and you couldn't see, hitting a parked car is typically considered an at-fault accident.. You don't always have to file a claim for vehicle damage.. If the damage is less than your deductible, you'll be paying for it out-of-pocket anyway, so you may not want to file a claim.. Surcharges for at-fault claims can be expensive, and you might end up paying more due to the surcharge than paying for the repair upfront.. Collision insurance covers the costs of damage to your vehicle if you hit another car or object, or roll your car in an accident.

location of the vehicle damage extent of the vehicle damage, and details about the context of the accident.. By reviewing vehicle damage and other physical clues from the accident, an investigator will have a significant piece of the puzzle for figuring out who caused the accident.. Damage to the passenger side of the vehicle in an intersection raises the possibility that the driver was turning left when the accident occurred.. An adjuster can compare photographs immediately following the accident with the actual accident scene to ascertain where a vehicle was in relation to other vehicles and any other parts of the road.. If Vehicle 1 is hit broadside (t-boned) in an intersection where Vehicle 2 had a stop sign and Vehicle 1 did not, then there's a strong possibility that Vehicle 2 ran the stop sign when it hit Vehicle 1.. Damage to the back of a vehicle strongly implies its driver is not at fault for the accident.. If, for example, the other driver pulled out just before you got to the driveway, so that the damage is on the front end of your vehicle and on the other vehicle's driver's side, now the picture indicates that you hit the other vehicle.. In that case, the damage will generally be to the front of the negligent driver's vehicle, and to the driver's side of the non-negligent person's vehicle.. The three things that you absolutely must do after a car accident — especially when it appears that the location of vehicle damage is going to be important—are:

When a backing up car accident occurs, many people assume the driver who was backing up at the time is always at fault.. If a car is stopped leading up to the accident, it would be difficult to say that the car’s driver was at fault.. If a car is moving but stops with plenty of time, that driver may have very little, if any, fault.. For example, if a car were able to back all the way out of a parking space and was just about to drive forward, the damage would be to the back of the backing vehicle and the front of the other vehicle.. This suggests there was plenty of time for the car that initially had the right of way to see the car backing up and stop.. A Car Backed Out of a Parking Space into a Parked Car. The driver that backs up into a parked car is most often at fault because that driver should have been able to see the parked car and avoid hitting it.. However, if the parked car is parked illegally, there are times when the illegally parked car will be at fault.. A Car Backed Out of a Parking Space into a Moving Car. When one car is backing out of a parking space, that car’s driver is supposed to look for cars before reversing.. Since the car backing up was moving in reverse at the time of the crash, it will usually be at fault in the accident.. Determining who is at fault in a car accident when both cars are backing up can be difficult.. Neither car would really have the right of way if both cars were reversing at the same time.. Since the car backing up was moving when the accident happened, the driver must not have been paying enough attention to see the other car.

If someone is pulling out of a parking spot , they must yield right of way to vehicles driving by and to pedestrians.. If they cause a pedestrian accident or a car accident while backing out, they will almost always be responsible and liable .. However, there can be exceptions , such as when the oncoming vehicle was speeding or the pedestrian was especially negligent .. This can make it very difficult to see oncoming traffic through the other parked cars.. drivers who were under the influence at the time of the crash, pedestrians who saw you backing out and deliberately got hit, drivers speeding through the parking lot, giving the drivers of parked vehicles little time to see them coming, people running through the lot, weaving in between the cars in the parking spots and darting behind them, and drivers going through vacant parking spaces, rather than the lane between them.

When a car collides with a pedestrian, the pedestrian typically ends up with much more significant injuries than the driver of the car.. But that doesn't mean drivers are always at fault (liable) for pedestrian-car accidents.. how the law determines fault in a collision involving a car and pedestrian what happens when a driver and pedestrian share blame for an accident, and who pays for accident-related losses (" damages ") when a car and pedestrian collide.. the person who caused the accident had a legal responsibility (called a " duty of care ") to avoid harming you the person who caused the accident violated (breached) that duty of care the breach of duty caused the accident, and the breach of duty led to your injuries and losses (damages).. For example, when a speeding driver hits a pedestrian in a clearly marked crosswalk, the driver is at fault.. Is the jaywalking pedestrian at fault for the accident?. (See below for more on shared fault in pedestrian accidents.). A pedestrian might be negligent and liable for an accident when the pedestrian:. Pedestrians who are at fault for an accident, not only have to foot their own accident-related bills, but might also be responsible for paying for other people's damages.. So, what happens when both the driver and pedestrian are at fault?. Returning to our example of the jaywalking pedestrian who was hit by the speeding driver: Let's say an insurance adjuster finds the jaywalking pedestrian's accident-related losses total $100,000.. the drivers involved in the accident (or the employers of the drivers if the drivers were on company business at the time of the accident) the owners of the cars involved in the accident if the owners are different from the drivers anyone who contributed to the accident (like a pedestrian or a government agency who failed to properly maintain a road or crosswalk signal), and your own auto and health insurers.

However, it’s always important to establish who was at fault in a road traffic accident .. In addition, determining fault in a car accident is essential if you wish to pursue a road traffic accident compensation claim.. It may be that the other person acted out of road rage, was speeding or simply didn’t check their mirrors before making a manoeuvre - whatever the cause, if this kind of negligence was a contributing factor in the accident and your injuries, you could claim compensation.. When it comes to car accidents, determining fault by location of damage on the vehicle(s) is what many solicitors, courts and law enforcement officials will look at first.. Where vehicles sustain damage in an accident or collision can provide vital clues as to what happened.. Examples of how the location of damage can provide evidence of fault include:. This can suggest that the other driver was to blame, particularly if the other vehicle has damage to its front.. For example, this can provide evidence that one car pulled out of a junction without checking that the road was clear, colliding with the driver’s side of another vehicle.. In most cases, this indicates that the other driver was to blame, especially if this driver’s vehicle has damage to the front.. For example, if a car in a left turn incident has damage on its front end and the other vehicle has damage to the front-right side, this suggests that the left-turning car was to blame.. In some road traffic accident compensation claims, it’s quite easy and straightforward to determine fault by the location of damage.. In cases where it’s difficult to establish who was to blame, it’s important to seek expert legal advice from a specialist.. This can provide vital evidence which may help your case.. Slater and Gordon’s car accident claims solicitors also use additional evidence to determine who was to blame for an incident.. It’s important to remember that you should only gather evidence after a road traffic accident if it’s safe to do so.

Posted 5 years agoNever pull out assuming the indicator is correct.. Posted 5 years agoSurely b would check to see if a was slowing for the turn, and if the speed was such that the turn wasn’t going to happen, then b wouldn’t pull out regardless of the indicator.. Posted 5 years agoDepends what you mean by ‘at fault’, but if you’re driving / riding defensively, you never assume someone’s indicator is a% reliable, erm, indication of what they’re going to do.. It would be 50/50, happened to me about 15 years ago, car indicating, I pulled out, they went straight into the side of me.. Posted 5 years agoI know I don’t risk stuff like that since I’ve had a few loud cars which mean I occasionally leave an indicator going without realising it.. Posted 5 years agoHappened to my mum and dad at the weekend; dad’s indicator didn’t cancel after coming off a roundabout (and he didn’t notice it hadn’t), car waiting at side road pulled out assuming he was turning left when he wasn’t.. Posted 5 years ago100 % the car pulling out and on a Driving Test a candidate would be faulted if they started to emerge before a vehicle had physically started turning in or obviously slowing down enough to make it obvious they were turning in.. Posted 5 years ago Like has been said, car a could be pulling up after the junction.. Posted 5 years agoAlmost happened to me once, dude indicating left as coming up to a very popular fast food takeaway, me waiting to pull out, another driver on the other side of the road has stopped to let me out.. Posted 5 years agoPosted 5 years agoI think scud’s written the most useful answer, but I was also always told by my driving instructor that the only thing a flashing indicator means is that the bulb’s working.

The general rule is that the driver that hits the parked car is at fault for hitting a parked car.. The reason the driver is usually at fault is because the car was parked and not moving, so the parked car could move out of the way to avoid the accident.. This means you compare the actions of the owner of the parked car to the actions of the driver that hit the parked car, then assign responsibility to the one that could have avoided the crash.. Deciding who is at fault if you hit an illegally parked car depends on why the car was parked illegally.. When the reason it’s illegal to park in a location has nothing to do with visibility of the car, then parking illegally does not make the owner of the parked car comparatively at fault for the crash.. If you hit a car parked in a fire lane or you hit a double-parked car, you, the driver, are probably still 100% at fault.. Deciding who is at fault when hitting an illegally parked car is less clear when the reason it was illegal to park in a particular location was because it is difficult to see a parked car there.. How much responsibility is assigned to the owner of the parked car depends on how difficult it is to see the illegally parked car.. In some extreme cases, it is so difficult for a driver to see the illegally parked vehicle that the owner of the illegally parked car could be 100% responsible for the crash.. Under these extreme circumstances, the illegally parked car may be 100% at fault because the owner should have been able to anticipate that a driver could not see them.. This means that deciding who is at fault when hitting a parked car in a parking lot will be the same as when hitting a parked car on the roadways.. Parallel parking Pulling into a parking space Backing out of a parking space Striking a car with your door when opening it

Many drivers operate under the assumption that a driver who causes an accident while making a left-hand turn is always at fault, but this isn’t the case for some accidents.. When making a left-hand turn on just a green light (not a green arrow), the driver making the turn must wait until there are no oncoming vehicles in the opposite lane.. Striking someone in the crosswalk while making a left-hand turn will come down to the driver’s liability, unless the driver had a green arrow and the bicyclist or pedestrian ran into the crosswalk illegally, and without the chance for the driver to stop in time.. Liability might not come down to the driver making a left-hand turn if that driver had the right-of-way to make the turn.. For example, if a driver has a green left turn arrow, but another driver runs the red light and crashes into the car making the left-hand turn, the driver that ran the red light would be liable.. For example, a driver turning left at night with a green light, but not a green arrow, does not see a driver in the other lane because the other driver did not engage his or her headlights, making it nearly impossible to spot the vehicle.

Proving fault in a car accident case is a matter of examining the accident scene, reviewing police records, speaking with witnesses, and seeing where the incident falls under codes and regulations.. The degree of fault is determined by the state in which the accident took place and which system of fault the state follows.. There will always be some degree of fault for you to prove.. Nothing makes you look sillier than talking about an entirely different vehicle law and sounding self-assured while you do so.. In rear-end collisions, the law supports the driver in front.. Drivers who rear-end another motorist are automatically assumed to be at fault in most cases.. Most situations that involve rear-end collisions show this to be true.. This rule even applies if the front driver is stopped in traffic and the gap is minuscule.. However, there are certain instances in which the driver in front of a rear-end collision is liable.. The turning driver will typically have damage on the front of their car, while the other automobile's damage will often appear on the front-right side .. Most police reports will contain both parties' versions of the crash, as well as the officer's personal observations and those of witnesses.. Make sure to get their contact information if you can, because you are definitely going to need it.. Of course, this doesn't mean an officer will always show up to the scene of an accident.. Insurance companies are far less likely to pay damages if there isn't a police report on file.. With modified comparative fault (50% rule), which 12 states follow, an injured person can only recover if their fault in causing the accident is 50% or less.

We’ve all been there, sitting in our car in a left turning lane waiting patiently for the never ending traffic to pass or the light to turn yellow so that we can finally make our left turn.. However, once the vehicle turning left has yielded as required, “the driver may turn the vehicle left, and traffic approaching the intersection from the opposite direction must yield the right of way to the vehicle making the left turn.” In other words, if there is enough room for the driver turning left to safely turn and the driver proceeds, the driver heading straight has an obligation to yield to the driver turning left.. So where the light has turned yellow, the Court must determine if the light turned yellow before the driver heading straight entered the intersection and if after the light changed that driver could have safely stopped his or her vehicle.. The Court found in this case that the left turning driver was totally at fault for the accident because he commenced his left turn when the straight through vehicle presented an immediate hazard to him.. In another case with similar facts, a car was seeking to make a left turn at an intersection on a yellow light and a pickup truck was coming straight through the intersection from the opposite direction, the court found both drivers equally at fault.. The left turning driver admitted that the approaching truck was travelling at a speed that made it unsafe for him to turn left in front of him on the yellow light.. However, the court also found that although the straight through driver could not stop safely when the vehicle turned left in front of him, the light had been yellow for some time as he approached the intersection and he did not try to stop when the light first turned yellow but instead accelerated through the intersection resulting in him entering at an excessive rate of speed.

In a car accident insurance claim or in court, you'll have to prove:. You might be 80% at fault for failing to make a safe left turn, and the driver of the van might be 20% at fault for speeding.. For example, if there is rear-end damage to your car, you'll have a leg up in proving the other driver was at fault.. If it makes more sense to file a claim directly with the at-fault driver's insurance company (this is called a "third party" claim), your own insurer might be able to help get you started with that process.. If you have certain kinds of car insurance coverage (like personal injury protection/PIP or medical payments/MedPay), you might be able to file claims for reimbursement of medical bills as they come in.. As with a rear-end collision, the location of the damage on the cars sometimes makes it difficult for the driver to argue that the accident happened in some way other than during a left turn.

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