RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You're backing out of a parking space and somebody driving the wrong way hits your car. Whose fault is it? 12 On Your Side looked into one woman's complaint, and found information that may help you.
Patricia Botts called 12 when the other guy's insurance company stopped communicating after indicating they would fix her car. What you may not know is different rules apply when a car accident happens on private property.
Bott's car got tapped by another vehicle as she backed out of a parking space at Wells Fargo on Jahnke Road. She called Richmond Police when the other driver wouldn't give his insurance information. An officer responded. He wrote up an incident report, but would not issue a ticket.
"He came from nowhere the wrong way," Botts said. "It was marked, marked big as day. I looked to where I was supposed to look before I started backing out. Then, when I started backing out, my attention was on what was behind me and on the right. He hit my car. He came in the wrong way."
Traffic laws are not enforceable on private property according to state statute. To be enforceable, those arrows on the ground, and any other signage, must be certified and made by V-DOT or the city's sign shop for specific height and size requirements.
"So, if you go against the arrow painted on the ground, it's not necessarily an illegal act. It's a suggestion and you didn't follow it," said Sgt. Dave Selander of the Richmond Police.
Back to Patricia's fender bender. She's looking at between $650 and $800 in damages.
"I'm not asking for anything extra," Botts said. "I just want my car taken care of from his insurance company because it was his fault."
The other guy's insurance company stopped calling, and this might be why.
"Anytime you back up your vehicle, you're entering an area that has right of way. You have to make sure it's perfectly clear," said Sgt. Selander.
SELANDER: "If you assume traffic can come only one way, and that's the way you're looking, you could be struck ... from someone coming the other way that did not see the signs painted on the ground."
DIANE: "So, it's her fault?"
SELANDER: "Yes. An unsafe backing situation."
Driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving laws are enforceable on private property. When a person fails to control their vehicle, and endangers life or property is reckless driving. As an example, Sgt. Selander says mistaking the gas for the brake and crashing through a store constitutes as reckless driving. You will be charged, private property or not.
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