Who Is At Fault When Hitting a Parked Car?

May 7, 2022
Who Is At Fault When Hitting a Parked Car? Determining who is at fault when hitting a parked car often seems like a straightforward process. The moving car bears the brunt of the responsibility because it is a moving vehicle that has hit a stationary vehicle. The moving car has the freedom to change its direction and avoid the parked car. The parked vehicle couldn't move, so there wasn't much it could do to avoid getting hit. However, there can be extenuating circumstances that influence who is at fault when a parked car is hit. There is more to consider in these accidents, like facts surrounding the accident and the actions taken by both drivers. Collecting adequate evidence to determine this can take a great deal of time. Therefore, consulting a car accident lawyer can help establish fault in a unique case like this.

Can a Parked Car Be at Fault When it Is Hit?

You should consider and compare the actions of both drivers when a parked car is hit before liability is assigned. In many cases, the driver operating the moving vehicle is at fault. However, in some cases, the driver of the parked car may be at fault.

Who Is at Fault When an Illegally-Parked Car Is Hit?

The parked driver may be at fault when the car is parked incorrectly or illegally. Illegal parking can happen for multiple reasons, such as emergencies. However, deciding the party at fault is typically hard as it depends on where and why the car is illegally parked. Sometimes a medical or car emergency might require the driver to park in an undesignated spot. While this is understandable, the driver should ensure they park well away from the road and in a place where they are easily seen. Determining fault in such circumstances can be hard, especially if the car is parked illegally next to a busy road.  

When the Illegally Parked Car is Visible

The fault in a parked car accident when the car is in an undesignated spot can often fall on the owner or driver of the parked vehicle. However, this could depend on why parking in that spot is illegal. If the reason that spot is illegal doesn't involve visibility, i.e., the car is visible, then the owner of the parked vehicle can be partially at fault. It is important to remember that this isn't always the case. Sometimes cars can park in a fire lane, and although this is illegal, the driver of the moving vehicle is typically at fault. 

When There Is Poor or No Visibility

A driver shouldn't park their car in places with poor visibility. In these cases, the owner or driver of the parked vehicle can bear partial or all fault. Examples of poor visibility areas include when an object is blocking the parking space view, or the lot is poorly lit and isn't visible at night. Another case where there might be poor visibility is when someone parks in front of someone's driveway, causing the other driver to back into them as they pull out of the driveway. However, if there was proper lighting and the driver of the moving vehicle could see the parked car, they would be likely responsible for the accident. If there was little lighting or total darkness, the car might not be visible from the backing out driver's field of vision. In such a case, the parked vehicle's owner can be assigned partial fault. 

When Seeing the Parked Car is Impossible

Sometimes, there can be no way of seeing an illegally parked car. In that case, the owner/ driver of the parked vehicle will likely be entirely at fault. Some circumstances when it is impossible to see a parked car include:
  • If a car parks at a sudden curve
  • If the car has all lights off
  • If there are two lanes with poor or no lighting
However, establishing full fault for the parked car can be difficult, as you will need to prove that it was impossible to see the parked car.

Who Is at Fault When Hitting a Parked Car in the Parking Lot?

The driver who could avoid the accident in a parking lot is at fault. This is most often the driver of the moving vehicle; however, it could also be the parked car's driver. Security footage and accident reconstruction can help determine who is at fault in this instance.

Contact Us For Help Determining Who Is at Fault When Hitting a Parked Car

Determining fault in a parked car accident can be challenging. However, a Dolman Law Group lawyer can help you gather evidence to determine liability. Call us today to get started.