Car Parking Tips · August 2, 2022

Who Is Responsible If You Hit An Illegally Parked Car?

Car accident cases involving personal injuries can be difficult to resolve, and both parties don’t always agree on who is to blame. Usually, the driver is at fault when they crash a parked automobile, but what if the other car was parked illegally? Who is responsible if you hit an illegally parked car?

Exceptions to The Parked Car Accident Fault Rule

Every rule has exceptions, of course. It is hard to discuss every scenario that could happen if you hit a parked car because there are so many potential ones. In most places, determining who is responsible if you hit a parked car can be done using the broad concept of comparative carelessness.

Assigning blame to the party who had the ability to prevent the collision involves comparing the actions of the parked car’s owner to those of the motorist who hit it. Both the defendant’s lawyer and your automobile accident lawyer will attribute a portion of the blame to both parties if they had the power to prevent the collision.

It may be appropriate to inquire, “Can a parked car be at fault?” under certain situations.

Who Is Responsible If You Hit An Illegally Parked Car?

Depending on why the car was parked illegally, you must decide who is at fault if you hit the vehicle.

When parking is prohibited for reasons unrelated to visibility

Even in situations where the driver is at fault, the general rule still holds true when a car is parked illegally. However, there are times when the illegally parked car may also be partially to blame. This will depend on the reasons that a particular parking space is prohibited.

Parking illegitimately does not make the owner of the parked car comparatively at fault for the collision when the reason it is illegal to do so has nothing to do with the visibility of the car. If you hit a car parked in a fire lane or you hit a double-parked car, you, the driver, is probably still 100% at fault.

When parking is prohibited due to visibility

When parking in a particular spot was prohibited because it was difficult to see a parked car there, it can be more difficult to determine who is to blame when someone hits an illegally parked car. The reason is that the driver of the vehicle that was parked improperly may share some responsibility for the collision. Examples include when a structure or other object obscures the parking space or when it is impossible to see the parking space at night.

Another typical illustration is when a car is parked in front of a driveway and the driver enters the car by backing out of the driveway. Parking in front of a driveway on a street is typically prohibited. The fact that the driver was backing up does not necessarily indicate that they couldn’t see the car. The driver would still be in charge, then.

On the other hand, it might have been difficult to see the car if it had been dark outside and the street had poor lighting. In that case, the car owner may have been comparably negligent. Depending on how challenging it is to see the illegally parked car, the owner’s level of responsibility will vary.

When the illegally parked vehicle cannot be seen

In some extreme situations, it may be impossible for a driver to see the illegally parked car, making the owner entirely accountable for the collision. Consider this illustration. Would you notice this car in these conditions?

  • Part of a car that has stopped on the side of the road is still in the travel lane.
  • In the middle of a sharp curve in the road, the car has stopped.
  • There are no lights, the road is dark, and there are only two lanes.
  • The vehicle’s lights are off.

It’s simple to understand how a driver might not be able to see the stopped car as they navigate the dark curve. Because the owner should have known that a driver would not be able to see them in these dire circumstances, the illegally parked car may be entirely at fault.

What Takes Place When You Hit An Illegally Parked Car?

What ought to occur is essentially the same as what follows a car accident with a different driver.

  • Find the owner of the parked car if at all possible. Never leave the site without contacting the police and/or leaving a note with the car’s driver’s contact information in a prominent location (under the windshield wiper). Keep in mind that leaving the site of an accident is illegal.
  • Take pictures of the damage, being especially careful to document any evidence that the automobile you hit was parked illegally. Obtain the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Call your insurance representative. Without blaming yourself for the mishap, provide the agent with the facts you’ve acquired and the photographic evidence you have.
  • Contact a qualified auto accident lawyer if you are uncertain about your degree of responsibility in an accident, particularly one involving a vehicle that was improperly parked.

Why You Must Contact Your Insurance About the Accident

You might be tempted to put off telling your insurance provider about the collision. The main reason why people choose not to disclose these incidents is to keep their insurance prices from increasing. Should you report it, this might occur. However, the cost of making the repairs on your own frequently outweighs the rate rise.

You run the risk of the business refusing to pay for the damage to the other automobile if you don’t report the accident as soon as it happens and try to do so later. After a collision, attorney Scott Distasio advises reporting your accident and contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can.


How does an insurance company determine who is at fault when a car is hit in an Illegal parking spot?

If you crash into a car that was parked illegally, the insurance company will probably hold you accountable for the collision while taking the illegality of the parking into account. This is why it’s important to document the crash scene with photos that show the location of the vehicle where the accident happened. Additionally, you can significantly lower your liability if you can show that the car was illegally parked and that you had little time or room to avoid hitting it.

Will my insurance increase if I hit a vehicle that was illegally parked?

Based on the insurer’s assessment of your risk level, your insurance premium rate is determined. Your risk profile is inevitably elevated in the eyes of your insurance provider when you cause accidents. Your auto insurance policy probably specifies how and when your premium rate will increase as well as what actions could result in higher insurance costs. So that you know what to expect, be sure to carefully review your policy.

What happens if you hit a car that is impermissibly parked and then drive away?

If you cause an accident, even if it involves a vehicle that was parked improperly, you are required by law to accept responsibility for the mishap. A hit-and-run is when you flee the scene after an accident. When the police find you, you’ll probably be detained and charged with hit-and-run. Even though you might want to escape responsibility for the accident, it is never worth running the risk of being charged with hit-and-run.

What takes place if I accidentally hit a parked car but can’t find the owner?

Even if the owner of a hit-and-run vehicle cannot be found, you are still expected to accept responsibility for the incident. When the police do arrive, you should call them to report the incident. They are able to compile an official report and support your efforts to locate the car’s owner. Leaving the owner of the vehicle a note with your contact information should be sufficient if the collision was minor.