Who Is to Blame in a Car Crash When Backing Up in Miami, FL?
June 16, 2022 | Sagi Shaked | Car Accidents
Miami traffic leads to all kinds of accidents — including accidents that occur when backing up. These tend to happen at slower speeds, but even a low-speed crash can cause fatalities, injuries like whiplash, and plenty of damage to both vehicles. And any accident is likely to impact your insurance rates for a long time to come.
If you’ve been involved in a car crash when backing up — often called “backing” accidents — in Miami, FL, you’re likely wondering which driver was at fault. Here’s what Florida law has to say about assigning blame after a Miami crash involving a reversing vehicle.
Common Causes of Backing Accidents in Miami
Backing accidents probably aren’t the first scenario you imagine when you think of a car crash. However, they’re actually very common — 25% of all vehicle accidents occur when a driver is backing up. This type of accident usually occurs when a driver enters or leaves a parking spot.
Miami has no shortage of street parking. Snagging a spot on Ocean Drive offers an easy walk to Miami Beach — which means that tourists and locals alike are stopping their cars mid-street in dense traffic and backing up into a curbside spot. And parallel parking in downtown Miami has resulted in serious injury and death.
Oftentimes, backing accidents are caused by factors related to driver inattention on the part of the reversing driver. Frequent contributing factors to backing accidents include:
- Reversing without checking traffic
- Neglecting to watch blind spots
- Incorrectly adjusted side and rear view mirrors
- Distraction by phones, passengers, etc
While the reversing driver is often to blame, in some situations, the other driver is the person guilty of distracted driving.
How Blame Is Assigned in a Miami, FL, Accident
You might think that the reversing driver in a Miami backing accident is automatically at fault, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Reversing a car to enter or exit a parking space is a legal driving maneuver. Florida law simply states that a reversing driver should take care that their actions are safe and don’t interfere with traffic.
Determining fault in an accident comes down to showing which driver behaved negligently.
If the reversing driver fails to pay proper attention to oncoming traffic, they’ll likely be found at fault. However, it’s often possible for the other driver to be found guilty of negligence for a violation like failure to yield.
This is a common outcome when reversing is necessary for street parking or if a driver didn’t notice someone already reversing in a parking lot.
Ultimately, prescribing fault in a backing accident depends on the circumstances of the accident, who was there first, and which driver had an obligation to yield to the other.
Knowing how to respond after a backing accident can save you from taking the blame for an accident you didn’t cause.
What to Do After a Backing Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident involving a reversing driver, you can take a few steps to protect yourself. Call the police and ask them to take down an accident report. This creates official documentation, which can protect you if the other driver tries to change their story at a later date.
It’s also a good idea to be checked by a doctor. A backing accident can easily lead to a delayed injury like whiplash, so seeing a doctor at once helps further establish the accident as the source of any injuries.
Finally, don’t apologize or admit fault for the accident, and don’t speak with an insurance company until you’ve consulted with a lawyer. The smartest way to ensure you don’t face the consequences of an accident you didn’t cause is to consult with a legal professional before taking action.