Is The Person Backing Up Always At Fault?

If you have recently been in a car accident, you may be wondering who is at fault. When it comes to backing up, the person who is at fault is often disputed. Especially if the bump was quick. 

While you may assume that the person backing up is always at fault, this is not always the case. 

In this article, we will be talking through this in more depth. We will be discussing a few different scenarios to help you to determine who is likely to be at fault. 

Although it is not always easy to find out who is at fault, we hope that this article will help you to gain a better understanding. There are many different reasons why a person may be at fault and it is not always black and white.

Where do backing up accidents usually happen?

Parking Lots

Most backing up accidents occur in parking lots due to drivers reversing out of a parking space. If the person is not correctly signaling, it can prove difficult for the driver on the road to see the person backing up.

This is why it is so important to drive slowly around a parking lot. This will help to avoid accidents caused by backing up. A person backing out of a space should always do so slowly. This will give other drivers time to see them. 


Another common place where backing up accidents occur is on driveways. If someone is backing out of their driveway and into the road, this can cause an accident if drivers are not aware of their surroundings.

Backing up accidents can occur in other places too, they are not limited to parking lots and driveways. Although, they are more likely to occur in these situations. 

Factors to consider

When you are looking at who is at fault, there are a few factors that you should take into consideration.


The visibility of where the accident took place is important. Always remember that the visibility of the person who is backing out is impaired slightly.

They will not be able to see drivers that are passing in the same way that drivers can see them. Given this, caution should be exercised for both parties.

Own Perceptions

It is worth remembering when you are trying to decide who is at fault that everyone has their own perceptions of a situation.

In addition to this, everyone had different speed, time, and spatial awareness. While one person may think they have enough room, another person could dispute this.

This is why these particular situations can prove difficult because everyone will interpret what happened differently.


The speed at which someone is reversing out or driving past it is important. If either driver is driving too quickly and is not paying enough attention, they may be at fault.

In these situations, drivers should be taking in their surroundings and driving as slowly as possible. 

Who is at fault?

As backing up does not involve someone traveling through a red light or doing something illegal while driving, it is difficult to point the blame. While you may feel as though the person backing up is at fault, this is not always the case. Both drivers needed to take care while in the situation. 

If you are backing out of a space and cause damage to a parked car or a wall for example, then you are the person at fault. But if the collision involves two people, either or both may be to blame.

Here are a few things to consider:

Right of Way

Who had the right of way in the situation? 

If the person backed out in front of a car they are likely to be more liable than the person who had the right of way. However, if the driver with the right of way was driving irresponsibly, they will likely be to blame. 

In addition to this, both drivers may be blamed if there was a lack of concentration from both parties. 

However, the blame does tend to be placed more on the car that was reversing instead of the car whose right of way it was. Even so, this is not the case for all situations, and every collision is assessed individually. 

Damage Location

Another way to find out who was to blame is to assess the damage caused to the car. Where the damage is located is often a good way of indicating who was at fault.

You should assess where the damage occurred on both of the cars. This will help to give you a better idea overall. 


The best way to gauge who is at fault is to talk to witnesses. Witnesses will be able to give you their account of the events. They are likely to give you a clearer idea of who was at fault from a bystander’s point of view.

A witness is less likely to put emotions behind their opinion as they were not part of the crash. Given this, it can help the situation by asking them to explain what happened.

Security Cameras

One of the best ways to find out who is at fault is to use security camera footage. While this is not always easily accessible, many parking lots do have security cameras.

The footage will be able to give you a better insight into who was at fault if you cannot agree. In addition to this, the footage can provide evidence if needed.


Dashcams are also a great way to find out who is at fault.

As they are filming from the angle of your car, they will capture what happened in closer detail. 


As you can see, the answer to this question is not completely straightforward. Every situation will be assessed differently.

While the person backing up tends to be more liable in general, if the person who has the right of way was not concentrating and speeding, they may be at fault.

In addition to this, depending on the situation, both drivers may be at fault. This is why it is important to use security camera footage, witnesses, or dash cams to assess what happened.


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