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What to do After Hitting an Illegally Parked Car

October 18, 2021 By John Torgenson

Striking a parked car will almost always be the fault of the person driving a vehicle. However, what happens if the car was illegally parked? For vehicle accident cases involving illegally parked cars, both drivers could be involved. One driver could be at fault for illegally parking the vehicle, while the other driver could be at fault for negligently causing the accident. Here, we want to examine how these incidents occur, and we want to take a close look at shared fault laws in Arizona.

Striking an Illegally Parked Car – What Does Illegally Parked Mean?

Cars can be parked illegally in a variety of ways. By definition, a car will be parked illegally if it is located in any space not deemed an actual parking location. Some of the most common examples of illegally parked vehicles are those in front of fire zones, where signs are posted, in crosswalks, on sidewalks, blocking fire hydrants, or in other areas specifically blocked off by traffic laws. In general, drivers illegally parked will be cited by local law enforcement or parking enforcement officials.

Who Will be At-Fault for These Incidents?

The reality is that striking a parked car is almost always the fault of the person driving unless the other vehicle is illegally parked. If a driver strikes an illegally parked car, liability for the situation can become muddied. What we mean by that is there may be shared fault between the driver who struck the vehicle as well as the driver who parked illegally.

If you strike a vehicle that is illegally parked, there are various steps that you can take in the immediate aftermath:

  1. Stop and leave your information. You have an obligation to try and locate the driver of the vehicle that you struck. In some situations, this may be very difficult to do. If you cannot locate the driver, and if the incident is relatively minor, you should leave your name, phone number, and insurance information on a note and place it on the vehicle in an area where it cannot blow away.
  2. Call the police. In the event an accident involving an illegally parked vehicle is relatively severe, the police need to come to the scene. Dial 911 and let the dispatcher know what happened. The police will be able to come to the scene and possibly cite the illegally parked driver, which could help your case if you try to recover compensation for your injuries or property damage. Obtaining a police report could help convince the insurance carrier of the other driver’s fault.
  3. Obtain evidence at the scene. While you are at the scene of the crash, you should begin gathering as much evidence as possible. If you have a cell phone or another type of camera, take as many photographs as possible. This includes photographs that show how the other driver is parked illegally. Photographs should also include vehicle damage, debris around the accident scene, traffic and weather conditions, and the overall area where the accident occurred.
  4. Contact your insurance carrier. Most auto insurance carriers require that accidents be reported to them within a day or two after the incident occurs. The delayed reporting of an accident, even a minor one, can result in your claim being delayed or denied altogether. Your initial accident report does not have to be extensive, and it can include very basic level information about the incident, including the location, the vehicles involved, and the name and insurance information of the other driver.

If you have been injured, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer today for a free case evaluation.

Arizona’s Shared Fault Laws

Arizona operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that drivers involved in an accident can still recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident. However, the total amount of compensation they recover will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. Arizona’s shared fault laws could come into play when it comes to accidents involving an illegally parked car.

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John Torgenson

After high school, John attended the University of Utah, graduating in 2001. John then attended his dream school, Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated, with honors, in 2004. John is licensed to fight in court for real people in the State of Arizona, the United States Federal District Court of Arizona, and the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before establishing what is now Torgenson Law, John practiced in the litigation group at Fennemore Craig, the oldest law firm in Arizona, and one of the largest firms in the Southwest. Having practiced at Fennemore Craig in both the defense and plaintiff’s practice areas gives John a complete perspective of the litigation process, and valuable insight into how to efficiently and effectively advance his clients’ interests. His unique and balanced background enhances his credibility with defense lawyers, insurers, and defendants as well as with judges and arbitrators.