If you hit an illegally parked car or another vehicle the question of fault or liability for the crash might be different compared to hitting a properly parked vehicle. Determining fault depends upon the specific location of the accident, details of the accident, other factors that contributed to the accident, and the laws of the state in which the crash occurred.
You Hit a Parked Car
In most accidents involving hitting a parked car, it is easy and straightforward to determine who was at fault. If you are driving and you crash into a parked vehicle, you are typically at fault for the accident. A parked car is, after all, a stationary object: it did not move into your path, nor could it move out of your way to prevent or avoid the crash. If your vehicle was moving and you were behind the wheel, you did have the ability to avoid a crash. When operating a motor vehicle, you have a duty to be attentive to the road ahead and to see any obstacles that may be in your path. Thus, you had the opportunity to avoid or prevent the accident.
You Hit an Illegally Parked Car
The question of fault is different when the car you hit is parked illegally. Negligence (acting or failinlg to act in a way that violates a duty you owe to another person) may be attributed to the driver of the parked car or to the driver of the moving car. In some cases, the fault may be attributed to both of the drivers.
It is possible for a crash to occur due to several types of illegal parking, including:
- A car may be parked in a way that blocks a driveway.
- A bad job of parallel parking could be illegal if part of the car is within a lane of traffic.
- A car may be parked on a curve or just over the top of a steep hill.
- Improperly parked vehicles in a parking lot.
- Vehicles double-parked on a street.
Determining Who Is at Fault
Determination m30ust be made about who or what caused the accident. Did the accident occur because the driver of the moving vehicle was not paying attention? Did the accident occur because the parked car was illegally parked and could not be seen or avoided by the driver?
In most states, comparative fault formulas are used to determine the proportional fault of both parties. Did the crash occur mostly because the moving driver did not take all possible steps to avoid the collision? Did something about the way the car was parked that made it impossible for the other driver to avoid the crash? If, for example, it was determined that the illegally parked car was 30 percent at fault and the driver of the moving vehicle was 70 percent at fault. The drivers or their insurance companies pay damages in this proportion.
Virginia, and a few other states, calculate fault on the basis of contributory fault or negligence. Determining fault depends on the parked car. If it is parked heading the wrong way of the road but otherwise legally parked, it is not the proximate cause of the wreck. It was going to be hit on the front end or the rear end. The question is what action was the proximate cause of the accident. If the fact that the car was parked illegally contributed to the cause of the crash and the person who was driving the moving vehicle also contributed to the cause of the wreck, each would contribute to the crash and each would be responsible for their own expenses.
If you hit an illegally parked car, it will be necessary to establish fault for the crash. This will be established by a number of complex factors, including the location and direction of the parked car. Fault and financial liability will then be determined and assigned to the owners of both vehicles. It will be important to talk with an experienced auto accident attorney, who will guide you through the investigation and help you gather needed evidence.
Altizer Law, P.C., is a trusted auto accident and personal injury attorney located in Roanoke, VA. Bettina Altizer and her expert team help people every day to obtain the financial compensation they deserve. They know that after the accident and medical treatment, it’s about the money.