Auto Insurance Claims: Whos at fault?, insurance claims adjuster, stop sign


Question
I was recently in an accident where I backed into a parked car trying to get out of the way of a very angry driver and I need to know if the accident should be my fault or his. I was backing up and glanced up the road to see another driver just leaving the stop sign up the block. Evidently he was angry that I wasn't moving fast enough and he began to increase his speed as if he was going to run into my drivers side door on purpose!! I was scared to death and tried getting out of the way backing into a parked car. At the last second the angry driver went around the front of my car and drove off just as fast! Another person stopped me and gave me his name and number and said he saw everything and he thought the man was trying to hit me purposely as well!! Is this my fault? If the driver would not have increased his speed I would have had time to get out of the way!

Answer
Barrett R. Smith, AAM
Barrett R. Smith, AAM  

Melissa,

Thank you for the question and I’m sorry this happened to you. Understand I am not in law enforcement and cannot provide legal advice however, based upon my experience as an insurance claims adjuster it sounds to me as though the other driver may have had some culpability (liability) in speeding at you and responsibility for a portion of the damages...especially with a witness who can and would support your position.

The fact is however; ultimately you are to have control of your vehicle at all times and should have avoided hitting the other vehicle …unless of course the other driver actually struck you and pushed your car into the other car, which from your account this didn't happen.

Unfortunately there are those out there who have little regard or patience for others or perhaps are going through some tough times. Be thankful there wasn't a child behind you or at play on the other side of the street when this guy sped past you!

There's no excuse for what the other guy did and he should be held accountable, for no other reason than to discourage him from such conduct in the future, but it will be up to your insurer and local law enforcement (and you should report him!) to hold him accountable for his actions and responsibility in your hitting the other car.

My suggestion, should a similar issue occur in the future, take your time, as you have control of the road and the right-of-way.
You'd be much better off having someone upset with your taking a little extra time to be careful... opposed to the one whose car was damaged because you didn't.

Good luck! I hope it turns out well for all!