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What If I Hit an Illegally Parked Car?

Posted on December 11, 2019 in Car Accident

Striking a parked car can lead to different questions than a typical car accident. The other driver might not be on the scene or available to exchange information. If the other driver parked his or her vehicle illegally, you might wish to dispute liability for the collision rather than taking fault. Knowing how to handle these situations in a way that will safeguard your rights is important for your financial future.  If you hit a parked car and believe it was illegally parked but have questions regarding a claim, contact our Las Vegas car accident attorneys at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, we can help answer any legal questions at no charge.

Who Is Liable for the Damage?

In general, you would be liable for striking a parked car. Since the other vehicle was in a stationary position, it would be your responsibility to notice it and avoid the collision. Hitting a parked car is often the result of driver distraction, negligence or recklessness. If someone illegally parked the vehicle you struck, however, this can lead to questions regarding liability. The driver of the parked car may at least share liability with you for failing to obey the rules of the road or parking lot.

Most accidents with illegally parked cars involve the doctrine of contributory negligence, or sharing fault with the other driver. The other driver might be partially at fault for parking illegally, while you might absorb a portion of fault as well for failing to avoid the vehicle. Nevada uses a contributory negligence law, meaning the plaintiff can share fault for an accident and still recover damages. The courts will simply diminish the plaintiff’s financial recovery by the percentage of fault, up to 51%.

For example, if the courts find you 20% liable for striking the parked car, but the other driver 80% at fault for parking illegally, you would receive a compensatory award minus your 20% fault. You would receive $8,000 of a $10,000 settlement in this example. If the courts find you more than 51% negligent for the accident, however, you will lose your right to receive any compensation. It is important, therefore, to take the correct steps after hitting an illegally parked car to maximize your odds of receiving a settlement.

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6 Steps to Take After Hitting an Illegally Parked Car

As a driver in Nevada, you have legal duties you must fulfill after any type of accident, including striking a parked car. Traffic laws state that drivers involved in accidents must remain at the scene and fulfill their duties before leaving, or else risk the criminal charge of hit-and-run. After hitting a parked vehicle, make a good faith effort to find the owner. If you cannot exchange information with the other driver, leave a note with your information and a brief explanation of what happened.

  1. Call the police. You need to call the police to report the accident if you injured someone or caused an estimated $750 or more in property damage to any vehicle.
  2. Find the owner. If you are in a parking lot, go inside the store to try to locate the owner of the vehicle. If you cannot find the owner within a reasonable amount of time, leave a note instead.
  3. Leave a note. Put a note in a visible place, such as beneath the windshield wiper, with your full name, contact information and insurance information.
  4. Take photographs. Take pictures of the illegally parked vehicle, its license plates, any relevant street signs, the note you left and the damage to both vehicles.
  5. Call your insurance company. Next, call your insurance company to initiate a claim. Explain what happened but do not admit fault for the collision.
  6. Contact an attorney. If you believe you will need further legal assistance after being involved in an accident and you were injured contact a Las Vegas injury attorney for advice.

Once the owner of the vehicle contacts you, get his or her insurance information as well. Wait for both insurance companies to investigate the accident and determine fault. If you do not agree with the conclusion an insurance company draws as to fault or a settlement, contact a car accident attorney for assistance. A lawyer can help you argue against a contributory negligence defense or otherwise fight for a fair resolution on your behalf.

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