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  1. #1
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    May 2015
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    Default Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: Texas

    I was traveling down a neighborhood street for one lane of traffic in each direction, divided by a yellow line. The side of the street I was traveling is designated a no parking, tow-away zone while parking is allowed on the other side (in the opposite direction I was traveling). I approached an occupied car that was parallel parked against the curb on my side of the street, so the car was illegally parked in a no parking zone. I saw the parked car and noticed no turn signal to indicate that it was preparing to pull out.

    Since there's not enough space for two-way traffic if a car is parked on my side in the no-parking zone, I veered left straddling the yellow divider to pass the parked car. When I was finishing my pass, I veered back right to be fully in the lane. The front driver side tip of the other car and the passenger side front door of my car made contact. I stopped and exited my car to investigate, and the other car (which was originally parked) had started to pull out forward and slightly left some time while I was passing it. The other car's wheels were turned left into my car.

    The space I was veering right back into would have been clear had the parked car not started to pull out. I noticed where the front of the parked car was when I began to pass so I'd know when to start veering back to the right. However, at some point while my attention was focused forward at the coming intersection (just about 50-100 feet away), the parked car began to pull out. At the scene, the other driver said that she was pulling out.

    The other driver claims to have saw me after she started pulling out, so she stopped before I hit her (as she claims). It seems like a clear case of her failing to yield right-of-way to me, a passing car. However, when I called her the next day, she said that she believes we're both equally at fault. Now I have my insurance company telling me that she filed a claim against me saying that I'm at fault. After dealing with her insurance company, GEICO, their adjuster called me and said that we're equally liable. I disagreed with GEICO's adjuster, who told me that they won't find their own customer at fault, and only my insurance company could do that.

    Who is at fault here, and is it right for GEICO not to find fault with someone because they're a GEICO customer?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    It seems like a clear case of her failing to yield right-of-way to me, a passing car.
    how could she yield any more than by stopping her car?


    how fast were you travelling? How far do you believe she traveled?

    there is a glaring error in your description though:

    When I was finishing my pass,
    if you had finished your pass you could not have hit her.

    while I understand your position, the fact is you failed to look to be certain your intended path was clear.

    what does your insurance company say about the situation?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    Quote Quoting jk
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    how could she yield any more than by stopping her car?
    She failed to yield right-of-way when she pulled out. She's obligated to check that the road is clear before she moves. Her movement obstructed my normal path around her car, which would have been clear had she yielded. By the time she stopped (if she did), she had already breached right-of-way.

    I was driving at an appropriate speed; it couldn't have been more than 20 mph. I don't know how far she traveled, but I'll give a rough estimate of 5 feet. If she did actually stop, then it couldn't have been any longer than immediately before the collision.

    Quote Quoting jk
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    while I understand your position, the fact is you failed to look to be certain your intended path was clear.
    The accident demonstrates that, yes, I should have double checked that the area was clear. My movement back over was based on the assumption that her car hadn't moved. I stopped looking at her car some point while my car was beside hers. I don't recall what exact position my car was relative to hers when I resumed forward attention at the coming intersection.

    As I've come to understand from hearing stories of other people's accidents, failing to prevent a collision when another vehicle breaches right-of-way is not justification for liability. I had no obligation to yield right-of-way to her. In Texas, it's also illegal to accelerate when you're being passed on a road with only one lane in each direction. So that's three laws she broke: parking in a no parking zone, failing to yield right of way when exiting a parked position, and accelerating when being passed.

    Quote Quoting jk
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    what does your insurance company say about the situation?
    My insurance company has yet to give me any indication of liability on the matter. Her insurance company said that I was wrong in that I didn't use a turn signal to indicate my passage.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    asnell910;886112]She failed to yield right-of-way when she pulled out. She's obligated to check that the road is clear before she moves. Her movement obstructed my normal path around her car, which would have been clear had she yielded. By the time she stopped (if she did), she had already breached right-of-way.
    and if she had hit you she would be 100% at fault but the fact is, you pulled back into her.


    I was driving at an appropriate speed; it couldn't have been more than 20 mph. I don't know how far she traveled, but I'll give a rough estimate of 5 feet. If she did actually stop, then it couldn't have been any longer than immediately before the collision.
    then you are 100% at fault as I see it. Given the placement of damage on your car, even if she had not moved it sounds like you would have hit her.

    The front driver side tip of the other car and the passenger side front door of my car made contact.
    I don't think that even if you were driving a Smart car had you traveled far enough to have clearly passed her, even if she had not moved what so ever.


    from your failure to answer the question about your insurance company's position here I can only guess they believe you to be at fault as well.

    so, either, file a claim with your insurance company to get your car fixed, if you have collision coverage and let them worry about it after that OR; just sue her and see what a court says. Of course if you sue her her insurance company will provide her legal representation.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    I don't think that even if you were driving a Smart car had you traveled far enough to have clearly passed her, even if she had not moved what so ever.
    Pardon my ambiguity. Our cars weren't parallel when the collision occurred. My car was angled right (approx 15 degree deviation from straight down the road) and hers was angled left at about the same degree. I was not turning my wheel right any more (it's very possible that my wheel was already straight - I don't recall) when the collision occurred. Therefore, the rest of my car would have followed in the same path as the front. So if she had just been a few inches further back, our cars would not have made contact.

    I specifically remember examining where the front of her car was so that I'd have at least a few feet of clearance when moving back in. I've been driving for 5 years and this is my first accident. I've never even been pulled over by a cop. My point is that, although I understand this isn't fruitful evidence, I'm a safe driver and I wouldn't intentionally make a maneuver that I know is dangerous.

    from your failure to answer the question about your insurance company's position here I can only guess they believe you to be at fault as well.
    I answered your question: my insurance company hasn't made any comment on the matter. To clarify, her insurance company reported equal liability. Although the adjuster told me that they won't put their own customer at my fault, and to speak with my insurance company if I wanted to pursue placing liability on the other driver.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    I was not turning my wheel right any more (it's very possible that my wheel was already straight - I don't recall) when the collision occurred. Therefore, the rest of my car would have followed in the same path as the front. So if she had just been a few inches further back, our cars would not have made contact.
    the rear of your car lags when turning so when turning right to change lanes, the rear wheels do not track in the exact same path as the front wheels but will actually leave a path somewhat to the right of the front wheels. Only after you are travelling in a straight forward path (when your front wheels were parallel to the centerline of your vehicle) would the rear wheel track directly behind the front wheels. In the action you took, there would have been no time your wheels were not turned until you had returned to the intended lane and established a straight forward path of motion. Until that point, you would be either turning right to re-enter the lane or turning back left to establish the path parallel to the roadway.

    that means you can drag across the front of a car you are cutting back in front of such that you can hit it with the side of your car with that car setting completely still.


    I specifically remember examining where the front of her car was so that I'd have at least a few feet of clearance when moving back in.
    a few feet? I suspect a judge will fry you and admonish you for "cutting it so close" and in reality, simply misjudging the situation.

    I've been driving for 5 years and this is my first accident.
    so you are a very inexperienced driver. That explains a lot.
    My point is that, although I understand this isn't fruitful evidence, I'm a safe driver and I wouldn't intentionally make a maneuver that I know is dangerous.
    that's why they call them accidents. Otherwise they would be called intentionals and you could be criminally charged for them.


    I answered your question: my insurance company hasn't made any comment on the matter. To clarify, her insurance company reported equal liability. Although the adjuster told me that they won't put their own customer at my fault, and to speak with my insurance company if I wanted to pursue placing liability on the other driver.
    their insurance company is saying nicely; sorry but we are not going to give you any money unless forced to by the courts. The ball is in your court. You either file a claim with your own insurance if you have collision coverage or sue the other driver or just forget about it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    jk, you've been very helpful. I appreciate your insight (and occasional sarcasm). I still don't think it's so cut and dry though as it's difficult to articulate and recall some key factors of the accident that would establish liability. It seems that the deciding factor here is whether or not she was in motion when the collision occurred. Even if she had stopped immediately before collision, it seems that she would still be just as liable as me at the very least because she has a duty to ensure a safe departure just as I have a duty to ensure an area I intend to drive in is clear.

    I find it hard to believe that she could have seen me next to her while pulling out at the last minute and have time to react (stop) in the very brief time period that this happened. She also told me at the scene that she was moving, but then recanted that fact when talking to the insurance companies.

    We'll see how this one plays out. It's a pretty unique situation compared to other similar incidents I've read about on this forum and other sites. At least her insurance company, which has a financial interest in holding me liable, believes that we're both equally at fault.

    Does her being illegally parked carry any significance in determining liability? I'll refrain from using the "had she not done this the wreck would't have happened" argument. However, a wreck resulting from a parked car entering a lane of travel is always the previously parked car's fault. Perhaps there's an argument that with her parked car being an obstruction to the lane of travel, the "lane of travel" temporarily becomes a route around her vehicle. If this holds, then my car did not deviate from the adjusted "lane of travel", thus I am not liable. I don't know if that's a valid argument in this situation, but I've seen this argument work in similar, but not identical, circumstances.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    .
    Even if she had stopped immediately before collision, it seems that she would still be just as liable as me at the very least because she has a duty to ensure a safe departure just as I have a duty to ensure an area I intend to drive in is clear.
    but...but...but...


    that is where their insurance stands right now but even with you saying there is a possibility there is equal responsibility you want to continue to disagree with your own statement.


    Does her being illegally parked carry any significance in determining liability?
    none at all

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    Just trying to play devil's advocate here. What I initially thought to be a plain vanilla incident of a car pulling out and striking mine has become quite more complex, especially with her changing position on responsibility. I'm also 90% certain that she apologized at the scene, but I omitted telling that to insurance because I don't recall her saying that exactly (I was pretty shaken up, little bit of post-traumatic stress after I was the passenger of a car that flipped about a month or so ago).
    I was hoping to find some more insight in interpreting the facts as right now it seems like her word vs. mine. She's recanted her initial remarks of responsibility and the fact that she was moving when the collision occurred, which are both very key factors.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Side Collision While Passing a Parallel Parked Car Pulling Out

    Quote Quoting asnell910
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    The accident demonstrates that, yes, I should have double checked that the area was clear. My movement back over was based on the assumption that her car hadn't moved. I stopped looking at her car some point while my car was beside hers. I don't recall what exact position my car was relative to hers when I resumed forward attention at the coming intersection.
    THAT is an admission of negligence.

    Period.

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