Who's At Fault: Car Accident Involves Three Cars

Never thought of myself creating a Who's at Fault post as I have always been a safe and good driver. This time is for my friend who got into a car accident that involved three cars. Not going to tell which one was my friend's car to avoid bias.

It happened on a normal two way street with kerbside parking on both sides: At first there is car A reverse parking and car B is approaching from a distance. While car A has reversed more than half of its body into the parking spot, car B is getting close. Seeing car A has cleared enough space on the street, car B does not stop to wait until car A finishes its manoeuvre but decided to keep going. Then at that moment, car A moves forward back onto the street to adjust its position. Car B reacts to that, not by pressing hard on its brakes, but slightly crosses the middle of the street into the opposite way to keep going, because there is no incoming traffic and the middle line is a broken line. Car B misses car A, but unfortunately, car C, does not expect car B coming from its left, seeing there is no car coming from its right, comes out from a driveway of the opposite way at the same time. Car B hits car C, damaging both car's front bumper corner.

Tl;dr: car B avoids hitting car A, which suddenly undoes its reverse parking, crosses the middle broken line slightly into the opposite way and hits car C, which just comes out from a driveway on the other side.

These are the options with reasons (too long to put in the poll):
* Car A - It should not expect traffic from behind is stopped and should check before moving back onto the street.
* Car B - It should be in complete stop and wait until any car in front to finish parking, even though there is enough room to keep going.
* Car C - It should check its left before coming out from a driveway, as the middle line is a broken line, there can be cars coming from its left too.
* All have equal share of responsibility
* Doesn't matter, my friend is always at fault

I tried my best to draw a pic with the Paint program I have
Pic here

Poll Options

  • 6
    Car A
  • 191
    Car B
  • 304
    Car C
  • 1
    All have equal share of responsibility
  • 5
    Doesn't matter, my friend is always at fault


  • In all seriousness, many of the comments seem to say car C is innocent, which I agree totally, however the votes baffle me. And I don't understand why car A is not taking any blame for pulling out suddenly (even though technically it did not complete its parallel parking 100%)? Car B did nothing wrong I believe, if it wasn't because of car A's action, it would have long gone and none of this would happen.

    • So what did the insurance say?

    • +1

      Car B did a LOT wrong from a defensive driving perspective. As for legally it all depends on timing which you haven't provided details or dash cam for so it is anyones guess. however regardless of the law Car B's lack of patience is definitely a key factor in this. All 3 have the potential to be an at fault party, my bet would be on B not slowing sufficiently and having to swerve into the other lane without indicating thus causing the accident as he expected the park to be finished by the time he was passing. Would be interesting to hear what insurance says or what all parties involved say.

    • +1

      car C is innocent

      Only if C was already fully on the road when B went over the lines.
      You have not said what the timing is regarding B going over relative to C entering the road.

      I don't understand why car A is not taking any blame for pulling out suddenly

      Maybe A did do the wrong thing - luckily for them it did not result in an accident for them.
      It's then up to B to decide what to do - stop, or overtake on the other side.

  • Depends on the details.

    If car B was on the wrong side of the road and hit car C, then car B is most likely at fault.

    Car A has nothing to do with this.

  • -2

    Where's the option for Cyclist's Fault?

  • in my opinion b & c both at fault.

    B - because he must wait as A is reverse parking if B should cross oncoming lane for obstacle avoidance he must do it if everything is clear. He did not see C coming in as there is blue car on right blocking his view. Therefore he failed on that step.

    C - because before you enter into a lane you must make sure it’s safe to so and he failed on that step.

  • CarDi B.

  • Car B should have slowed down as soon as seeing Car A parking. Car B should have observed the opposite lane more carefully before moving onto it. Car B did not maintain a safe speed and failed to observe the opposite lane with care. Given that the lane had parked cars on both sides Car B should have realised that moving onto the opposite lane was a dangerous move. Car B is responsible 100%.

    • What's with people assuming car B was speeding?
      You're just making it up.
      I say car C was speeding… and car A was red.

      • From Car C's perspective, in a normal circumstance upon seeing Car A on the road either stopping or coming onto the lane you would stop, especially on a two lane street with cars parked on both sides. It is too narrow to go onto the opposite lane. The only sensible thing for Car B was to stop and wait. You are only allowed to cross the lane if it entirely safe to do so. So I assumed one of the two things happened:

        1. Car B was going too fast so it had to go onto the opposite lane to avoid collision. Failure to observe and react to dangerous elements on the road.
        2. Car B did not speed but it was being reckless. It should have stopped and could have stopped but it was impatient and decided to go on to the opposite lane.

        From Car C's perspective, when turning left on a T junction it DOES NOT need to take account of the cars coming from the opposite lane. Car C has the right to turn left if no cars are coming from the right from its perspective.

        Since Car A is not involved in the crash it has no liability in this case. The responsibility falls on to the driver that failed to recognise and react to dangerous elements on the road.

        • So I assumed

          Like many others here.
          Now if only the OP would come forward with the timing of this whole thing then assumptions would not be necessary.

  • Did this happen in NSW?

    Car B mostly at fault but the other cars are also stupid. Car A for either not indicating or slowly moving out to readjust (if someone needs to fix their parallel parking they should check their side mirror first and not assume some impatient idiot won't just drive past them — especially in NSW where drivers are extremely impatient, probably because the roads are so crap structurally and constantly congested) and Car C for not checking the road in case some idiot on the road does something stupid (like drive on the other side of the road because they were too impatient to wait).

    Everyone in this situation should be retested for their licence.

  • Your friend was driving car B.

    "Car B reacts to that, not by pressing hard on its brakes." How would you know this otherwise?

    They are at fault anyway, car A does not come into this. Car B swerved and hit C.

    • At this point, I dont think it has anything to do with his friend. otherwise why say: I have always been a safe and good driver. OP himself is car B. Upon reading the post again it's obvious.

      I mean if you screwed up just own it, why hide behind this "asking for a friend".

  • I'll save you a lot of time. It's car C that's at fault.

    I've seen heaps of these. If you're entering the traffic from a driveway, the onus is on you to ensure it is safe to do so.

    You could argue that car B was on the wrong side of the road but they crossed over a broken line which is legal.

  • Car C can argue they were reversing into their driveway when car B hit them.

    If Car C can prove they were on their side of the road and clear of the driveway, Car B would also be at fault.

  • Car B could have done Car C a favour by ploughing into Car A thereby making Car A at fault and avoiding the collision with Car C however that's not how the cookie crumbled and Car C would have avoided this mess had they looked both ways before entering the road as required by law, they didn't and now they get a reward for being silly.

  • +1

    Car C did not look where it was going, it had to give way to everybody. It is at fault.

    Car A carrying out a normal manoeuvre. Car B passed in a safe fashion, was under no obligation to stop.

  • +1

    I imagine it's a case of common sense vs some stupid road law that will determine this. But Car A is irrelevant as it wasn't involved IN the accident. Car B needed to be more aware and adjust their driving to obstacles..and Car C needed to give way to all oncoming traffic when entering the road. I'd say Car C…but with a good lawyer (which will cost more than an insurance premium) might split fault with Car B.

    • +1

      A lot of this sounds split second, but it seems to me that B was also driving too fast in the circumstances, should have approached more slowly and should have had a foot on the brake and a hand halfway on the horn, if attempting to pass A.
      A should have been aware of B and should have stayed still.
      C, I can't think of what they've done wrong.

      B should have waited the 20sec for A.

      I'm guessing:

      car a: 10-15pc, car C 5-10pc, car b, 80pc.

      A had not exited the roadway completely and it is not attempting to reenter it. It is still occupying the roadway regardless of what B says.

      A is only halfway into the park and still on the road. B has attempted to overtake A when it wasn't safe to do so. You wouldn't expect someone to pass by you, especially when you're still halfway in/out on a crowded street.

      B says the roadway was clear for him to pass. But that's a mistake because if B had paid attention, then B should have also seen C with a seated driver ready to come out of its driveway prior overtaking A.

      With that knowledge, B should have waited for A and not tried to overtake. B would also be in a position to judge A's park and determine whether to wait, or attempt to pass.

      The telling part is that B says it stayed in its own lane until A's action. So C, when observing B pass A saw B stay on its own side of the road. C would be entitled to turn out because the coast is clear.

      The fact that C is damaged at all means that B has traversed very far into Cs lane. So C must either be a) already established in the lane or b) partway through its turning circle prior to the incident. Again, C is entitled to turn out into its lane, especially when it observes B staying in its own lane.

      Nb- Not legal advice, not a lawyer, just an unemployed gamer/Netflix/prime watcher guessing randomly.

      • Isn't it the law however that a car turning onto a road must give way to 'all oncoming' traffic?
        Car B was already overtaking and in the other lan, legally, so it would be up to Car C to ensure the road is clear?

        Given that B has already committed to the overtake, and Car C has yet to begin its maneuver?

  • +2

    Car B is an impatient a* but its car C's fault.

  • +2

    Thank you for all the in-depth comments, which displayed great analytical skills from you guys, it just proved that Ozbargain is such a great community. However it seems we do not share the same common senses here as I still think car A should take the blame for coming back out as if they still own the road after moving more than half of its body into the slot.

    And yes, some of you like MrFrugalSmith had noticed that I have been speaking for car B, guess I am not good at protecting my friend's identity😂. After chatting with car C after the accident, they sort of agreed that car A was the cause, but too bad car A was not "involved" in the accident…

    • +1

      car A was not "involved" in the accident

      Exactly. So why do you keep trying to blame them?

      How about a mention of the timing/speed of B & C performing their respective actions?

      • Yup. Car A is irrelevant. Car B has to give way to obstacles in front of it…Car C has to give way to all oncoming traffic when exiting a driveway and entering a road. Speed and distance is irrelevant really. Had Car B hit Car A then Car A might have been at fault due to reversing…but that isn't the case. Fault lies first with C, then B, then A. Legally and logically.

      • B and C are both at fault but C more so than B.

        It's easy to deflect the blame to Car A since they were not involved in accident lol

    • Re: @justwii: sorry to catch you out Car B - i tend to (over)analyse every word people say sometimes!

      As for Car A, it really depends on just how far into the park and with what sudden speed they came back out - without that detail (and unfortunately no dashcam) you are unlikely to get much support for your argument because from our perspective you just didn't wait for a reverse parking car. However I agree with you that mistake is easy to do, I don't wait for them to finish I go past when there is enough room so it could happen to me. If I had to come back out to correct in a reverse park I would check to see if I was about to cause an accident before doing so personally.

      Sometimes it is just bad luck.

      • …or impatience, or thinking others can read your mind, or thinking your next maneuver is so obvious that others would be bleeding stupid to think otherwise.

    • I have driven for about 10 years and I've been car A and car B in many circumstances.

      It's just going to be one of those things and the purchase of a dashcam really helps out in these situations. I've been rear ended in an officeworks carpark and we were both coming out at the same time. The insurers just said pay your excess cos you contributed. I couldn't do anything about it then, but I bought one of those viofo dashcams for our more expensive car afterwards, so I'm paying more money up front to avoid the chance of paying a high excess on my insurance later on..

    • Can you please update us with results of the insurance when it comes through?

    • Yeah of course when accidents happens then the other parties are always at fault. If you're siding with car B then you're a douche and should hand your licence back until you get that defensive driving course done. On the other hand when common sense prevail car C will be at fault 99% of the time because it will be almost impossible to prove car B behaviour, just like trying to blame the car in front of you reversing and hitting your bonnet when you don't have a dashcam to prove.

  • this is a meowland scenario

  • -3

    the whole cause of this is CAR A! he didnt look when going back to the road…
    but insurance will blame CAR B cos he can't wait minutes for CAR A to complete and crossing solid line to the opposite lane

  • +2

    Car C is at fault, 100%.

  • If Car C was exiting private property, and it sounds like they were, then they have to give way to everyone on the road and footpath (even if they are doing stupid things) so they are at fault.

    From Qld Department of Transport " When you are entering or leaving a road from private property or a driveway, you must give way to pedestrians or bicycle riders on the footpath or road. You must also give way to any vehicles on the road you are entering. These rules apply whether you are driving forward or in reverse"

    • This would be the case even at a T intersection with Car C entering the new road having come to a stop.

  • +1

    I would think B & C share responsibility. A having no contact with other cars is probably in the clear and has the right of way on the road. B & C are both making movements into areas where they are supposed to give way. Depending on timing you could argue either way for B or C having right of way. E.g. C enters the road in the correct flow of traffic and is hit by B moving against the flow of traffic. Reverse the timing and you have the exact same argument about right of way. Collisions in these sorts of manoeuvres are more likely to be the product of impatience so likely both B and C were moving faster than they should have been since they also failed to intervene before impact.

  • +1

    Once I was overtaking a stopped rubbish truck in a 40zone and broken white lines, obviously not going too fast, there was no incoming traffic so I was half way through overtaking and a car speeds from a side street and beeps at me. Same kind of wrong logic he wanted way of right because on the main road he would of had way of right but entering from a side street/driveway whatever you have to give way to any traffic on the main road

  • +1

    I don't know the right answer, but I think C is at fault, but B is being a d!ck for not waiting.
    Let us know which way insurance voted.

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