Who’s at fault when a parked vehicle’s open door gets hit?
So, you pull into the Walmart parking lot and find two empty spots side by side not far from the entrance. Thanking the parking gods for your good luck, you open your driver’s door and are greeted with the sound of crunching metal and breaking glass as a car pulling in to the empty spot next to you folds your door like an accordion.
Relief and not having stepped out too quickly is soon replaced by your anger at the other driver. But not so fast. If you want to know who is really at fault here, the answer is most likely… you.
A moving driver clipping a parked car’s open door is one of the most common parking lot accidents. It also happens when driver’s parallel park on the street, and open their door into moving traffic. Typically, fault is assigned to the driver who opens the door of their parked vehicle.
That’s because it is the responsibility of the driver of the parked vehicle to make sure the way is clear when opening their door in a parking lot, or on the street. That includes making sure no other vehicles are entering an adjacent parking spot even after you have parked and are ready to exit your vehicle. In the vast majority of cases, it’s going to be the driver who opened their door who will be found to be at fault.