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What Happens if I hit an Illegally Parked Car?

Getting into a car accident can be scary, and the aftermath is often confusing. One of the most important aspects of the aftermath of a crash is proving who was responsible for the incident. Often, this ends up being both parties.

But what happens if you hit an illegally parked car?

There are many ways that another vehicle could be illegally parked that could lead to an accident with other drivers. While you may think that the person who was in the moving vehicle at the time of the crash is at fault for the crash, that may not be the case.

What to do it you hit an illegally parked car

If you get into a car accident with a vehicle that you think is illegally parked, do not move your vehicle if it is safe to remain where you are. Use your phone or another camera to take photos of the entire scene, including proof that the vehicle you struck is illegally parked.

Call the police so they can get to the scene to complete an accident report. If anyone saw the incident, get their names and phone numbers so you can use them to verify that the car was illegally parked.

The illegally parked driver may be to blame

Clearly, nobody should be illegally parked. One of the most common types of illegal parking is double parking. Other forms of illegal parking include:

  • Blocking a fire hydrant
  • Blocking a driveway or entranceway
  • Parking where prohibited by signage
  • Parking on a sidewalk
  • Parking in an intersection
  • Parking within 30 feet of a stop sign
  • Not parking within the lines of a marked parking space

A spokesperson for Liberty Mutual, one of the largest auto insurers in the country, says that “Just because the vehicle is parked doesn’t absolve it in 100% of cases from any liability in the accident.”

One of the main things that needs to be examined was whether the illegally parked car was creating an inconvenience of a safety hazard.

If the vehicle was creating an inconvenience, the driver could be cited for illegal parking but will not likely be held liable for the accident. If the vehicle was creating a safety hazard, then the parked car’s insurance carrier may end up being liable for all or part of the damages.

  • If a vehicle is parked by the curb at a grocery store so the owner can load up their groceries, but you sideswipe them as you pass because you were distracted or looking the other direction, the illegally parked vehicle driver will not likely be at fault. You should have made your way safely around the vehicle.
  • Suppose a driver pulls to the side of a rural highway at night to make a phone call. The speed limit is 50 miles per hour, and the road does not have a wide shoulder. Therefore, the car extends into the roadway a bit. If a driver comes around the bend and is unable to avoid veer into oncoming traffic or stop before striking the vehicle, then the parked driver may be held partially or completely liable because they created a safety hazard.

Could both parties be at fault?

Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system. This means that both parties could be found to be at fault in a car accident. Anyone who is less than 50% responsible for their injuries is able to recover compensation, but the total amount they are awarded will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

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