You are generally at fault when you hit a parked car. However, if the other party parked their car illegally, they may bear fault, as well. For example, if someone parks their car in the middle of the road or highway, they may share the blame for an accident.
If the owner of the parked car is at fault, you can file an insurance claim with their provider. You may stand to collect compensation for your injuries and losses.
Hitting a Parked Car in a Parking Lot
Usually, people hit parked cars in parking lots. They may be backing out of a parking space and underestimate how close other vehicles are. When parallel parking, someone could hit the surrounding parked cars.
In these cases, the driver who hits the parked car will typically be liable for the damages they cause.
Hitting an Illegally Parked Car
Sometimes, drivers park their cars illegally, such as in the middle of the street or in restricted areas. They may be blocking a fire hydrant or sitting in a bus lane, for example.
If you hit an illegally parked car, you may have the opportunity to hold the owner of the vehicle responsible for your injuries and damages. If their parked car obstructed traffic, an insurance adjuster may find them at fault. If they received a parking violation, it could also help your case for compensation.
The South Carolina Department of Administration outlines South Carolina’s laws for parking. O.C.G.A. 40-6-203 describes the parking laws for drivers in Georgia.
Georgia and South Carolina Are Fault States
At-fault insurance laws apply in Georgia and South Carolina. This means that car accident victims have the right to file a claim with the at-fault party’s provider. Insurance adjusters will investigate the accident and determine who bears liability.
If the owner of the parked car makes a claim with your insurer, they may only end up seeking compensation for their vehicle damage. If they weren’t in the car when you hit them, they would not have a claim for personal injuries.
Make Sure You Call the Police to the Scene of the Accident
If a car accident results in injuries, deaths, or a certain amount of property damage, you must call the police to the scene. If the owner of a parked car is not present, stay at the scene and call the police anyway. Even if there is only minimal damage to the vehicle, do not simply drive away. The last thing you want is to face charges for a hit and run.
Furthermore, the police can determine if the car is parked illegally. They may assign the fault, or a portion of the fault, to the owner of the car when they write their crash report. This can help you make a claim.
Even Minor Car Accidents Can Result in Injuries
After hitting a parked car, you may assume you have no injuries. If you were in a parking lot, you were probably driving slower than you do in traffic, so the impact may not feel as severe. Still, you should prioritize seeing a doctor.
Even minor car accidents can cause injuries, and they may not be as obvious. For example, Mayo Clinic notes that whiplash symptoms may take days or weeks to appear. Whiplash can lead to life-altering medical complications, like widespread chronic pain.
Do not risk your health; see a doctor to rule out any injuries or to receive necessary treatment. Medical documentation will also go a long way in aiding your case for compensation.
You May Have a Case For Compensation
If you can prove the owner of the parked car was at fault, you may recover compensation for various losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries
- Vehicle repairs
Even if you were partially at fault, you may recover a percentage of your losses.
A Lawyer From Our Firm Can Help You Bring a Case For Compensation
If you hit a parked car, you have a right to legal counsel. Whether you are seeking damages or the owner of the parked car is trying to make a case against you, a lawyer from our firm can help.
We can investigate your accident and determine who bears liability. From there, we can help file a claim or lawsuit to seek fair compensation. We can calculate your damages and negotiate a settlement or represent you in a trial.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Can Handle Your Case
It can be difficult to determine fault when an accident involves a parked car. A free consultation may shed light on your position and legal options.