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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    3

    Default Hitting the Partially Open Door of a Parked Car in a Parking Lot

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: MASSACHUSETTS

    Here are the facts - sunny day - i arrive at hospital parking lot early for my 0900 clinic, around 0830 - outdoors, flat, lots of spaces - i park several spots away from other cars - because it's early and beautifully sunny - i open the driver's side door to the first click - not fully open - turn ignition off - sitting in the driver's seat, on my phone reading emails and the news for several minutes - other driver pulls into the space to my left (i'm parked head in) and right bumper/light hits the edge of my open door - she is extremely apologetic - offers to pay cash and then we agree that she will contact her insurance company to get a proper claim # - my car door could not close so needed towing to body shop - she later says "After my vehicle was appraised, they indicated that per their assessment, which included assessment of damage to both cars, I was not found at fault. Sorry to tell you this." Her insurance company has not seen my car. Perhaps they saw pictures that she'd taken. Body shop guesstimates before full appraisal that cost to repair will be $2-3K.

    The only issue with determining fault that I can see is if she (inaccurately) claims that my car door was openING when she pulled in. Then it's her word against mine. Or alternatively, am i at fault (if only partly) for leaving my door ajar in a parked car (on a sunny day in a flat lot with lots of spaces)?

    Final ethical dilemma. She is a colleague at work. Should I mention this to superiors? Realizing that BOTH SHE AND I KNOW that the car and the door were stationary when she hit it. I see this as a lack of professionalism. We are both health care workers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    13,953

    Default Re: Open Door in Sunny Parking Lot Gets Hit - Who is at Fault

    No witnesses. The presumption is that the only way she could have hit your door is if it was opening suddenly in front of her. You admit you were on the phone reading emails so you really have no clue as to whether your door was moving or not. Deny it all you want but the presumption works against you and, with no witnesses, you have no way of proving otherwise.

    You're completely at fault.

    DO NOT get your employer into this. That would be stupid. If you were my employee and brought this squabble into the workplace I'd fire you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    3

    Default Re: Open Door in Sunny Parking Lot Gets Hit - Who is at Fault

    Tx for the quick reply. As a matter of pure fact, not speculation, the door was ajar and stationary. I had been sitting there for several minutes on a windless sunny morning. My arms and legs were inside. There IS another way that she could have hit the door - if she was not exercising due care when pulling into her space.

    U might be right about the employer thing but the lack of professionalism between colleagues still rankles. Please donít fire me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    13,953

    Default Re: Open Door in Sunny Parking Lot Gets Hit - Who is at Fault

    Quote Quoting dthaler
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    Tx for the quick reply. As a matter of pure fact, not speculation, the door was ajar and stationary.
    Prove it. With testimony other than your own. Your own testimony is considered biased and self serving and so is the testimony of the other driver so both statements cancel each other out and you are left with the "legal" presumption that your door appeared in front of her because you put it there.

    Quote Quoting dthaler
    View Post

    U might be right about the employer thing but the lack of professionalism between colleagues still rankles. Please don’t fire me.
    OK, I won't fire you.

    But this has nothing to do with professionalism between colleagues. It's an auto accident and the laws of negligence apply.

    Heck, you could be blood relations of the closest kind, or you could be the Hatfields and McCoys, the laws of negligence would still apply.

    PS: Don't be so naive as to think that co-workers wouldn't throw each other under the bus.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    35,254

    Default Re: Open Door in Sunny Parking Lot Gets Hit - Who is at Fault

    Based on the facts presented she is 100% at fault. Based on her statement, depending on her version you would be at fault or there is a shared fault, possibly.

    As the others have stated since typically people have their doors open to exit their vehicle, it's hard to overcome that presumption. That would likely result in you being found to be at fault.

    Are there cameras? If so see if there are any recordings available.

    Other than that, report this to your insurance company and give them your version of the situation and let them handle it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Open Door in Sunny Parking Lot Gets Hit - Who is at Fault

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    As the others have stated since typically people have their doors open to exit their vehicle, it's hard to overcome that presumption. That would likely result in you being found to be at fault.

    Are there cameras? If so see if there are any recordings available.

    Other than that, report this to your insurance company and give them your version of the situation and let them handle it.
    Excellent question about security cameras. It is a hospital run by the state which is largely for prisoners. I've sent a query to the hospital to find out if I can get video that would corroborate my report of events.

    I completely get the he said/she said thing here. What is astounding to me is the discrepancy between the absolute acceptance of responsibility with no misunderstanding at the scene by the other party and the current situation. She could easily resolve this be being honest and forthright with her insurance company. It's a shame that she seems, for now, to have taken a different path. It's more disappointing to me that I'm learning this lesson of human behavior than that my insurance premium will go up (although that's annoying too!).

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