What Happens if You Hit a Car That Is Illegally Parked?

Parking laws and boundaries are in place to ensure the safety of the public. Cars are prohibited from parking in specific locations for safety reasons. For instance, fire lanes and crosswalks are prohibited areas because they need to be accessible to other groups of people. Parking in these spaces reduces accessibility and could cause car accidents. Knowing that parking in these locations is illegal, it is understandable to question what happens if you happen to hit an illegally parked car.

Who Is at Fault?

If you hit a car that is illegally parked, the court considers both you and the other driver negligent. Negligence implies that each drivers failed to act responsibly, or fulfill their duty to the other party. In car accidents, this most often refers to the duty that any driver has to operate their vehicle safely and prevent accidents. In Missouri, comparative fault law comes into play.

Comparative fault assigns a certain portion of fault to each liable driver. This means you must share the blame with the illegally parked driver. In court, the plaintiff can still recover damages, but their percentage of fault will be deducted from the total compensation. So, if the court awards you $20,000, but you are 25% at fault, you will only receive $15,000.

The court determines each driver’s contribution to the accident based on the details of the incident. For example, the illegally parked car might not have had complete street visibility. The oncoming driver would not have seen the car in an adequate amount of time to decelerate. This context would shift a larger percentage of fault to the owner of the parked car. In an alternative scenario, a driver could park their car illegally in a full-visibility fire lane. The oncoming driver might receive a text, and accidentally veer into the fire lane as they reach to grab their phone. Although the parked car is still in an illegal location, the oncoming driver has assigned more fault to themselves by driving distractedly.

Can I File a Claim?

Although you are assigned some portion of fault in the collision, you can still file a personal injury claim against the illegally parked driver. You can claim that the collision caused certain damages, like bodily injury or pain and suffering. If you intend to file a claim, gather evidence surrounding all aspects of the collision.

Find a Car Accident Lawyer

Find a lawyer that will help you file your personal injury claim. Lawyers help with a myriad of different case-related processes. They can interview witnesses, help you fill out court forms, and even help during settlement negotiations. Lawyers provide valuable consult, especially in cases where you could reduce your percentage of fault by providing the court with proper evidence.

If you hit an illegally parked car, you automatically take a portion of the blame due to driver negligence. However, you do not have to leave the situation with nothing. Finding a lawyer will allow you to effectively file a claim that addresses the damages that the collision caused.