Many people have a misconception that if you crash into an illegally parked car that it is not your fault.
How true is this?
Determining who is at fault at the scene of an accident is a matter of figuring out which person was careless, negligent or disobeyed a common traffic law.
Some situations are obvious making it easy to determine who is at fault while other situations need more information to determine if there was any negligence or thoughtless carelessness.
Each state has a written rulebook of traffic laws that each person who passes a driver’s test must learn, understand and know.
Scenario 1: You are in a parking lot at the local shopping mall or grocery store pulling into a parking space or backing up and hit a parked car who has taken up two parking spaces. Who is at fault?
Answer: You would be at fault for “failure to maintain control of your car” or “Unsafe backing”.
A shopping center or mall parking lot is private property open for public parking. Another car can park in two parking spaces, one and a half parking spaces or park sideways, it does not matter, and that car is in no violation of any vehicle code.
Scenario 2: You are making a right turn and sideswipe a vehicle parked illegally in a red zone near the corner of the street. Who is at fault?
Answer: You are guilty of an “Unsafe turn”. Theowner of the illegally parked car is not guilty of any moving vehicle violations, only a parking ticket. However, an insurance company may find partial fault and refuse to pay 100% for the illegally parked car.
It is the responsibility of all drivers to maintain control of their car from hitting any fixed objects legally or illegally parked.
Scenario 3: You are backing up and collide with a parked car who is parked in a red zone. Who is at fault?
Answer: You are at fault for “Unsafe backing”. However, an insurance company may find partial fault and refuse to pay 100% for the illegally parked car.
It is the responsibility of all drivers to maintain control of their car from hitting any fixed objects legally or illegally parked when backing up.
To clear up the misconception that it is not your fault if you hit an illegally parked car you need to remember one key point, you most likely will always be at fault for hitting a stationary object whether it is an illegally parked car, mattress or down tree in the roadway. It is your responsibility to drive safe enough for all existing circumstances.
This article is also posted on Triond by Scott Hallock