If a car is parked illegally and you back into the side of it, are you at fault?

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If a car is parked illegally and you back into the side of it, are you at fault?

I was legally parked in a parking lot off of one way alley. I did not leave my vehicle and did not notice that a car illegally parked perpendicular to my vehicle. Upon leaving, I looked over my right shoulder to make sure there were no cars coming down the ally. My car sits up high and the other car was parked close enough and is not that tall, that I did not see the car over my right shoulder. I backed into the other car. Am I at fault since she was illegally parked?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you *may* (see below) be liable. The fact that someone parked illegal has nothing to do with your potential liability in negligence for damaging the car.

The issue of whether you are or are not liable depends, as noted above, on whether you were negligent. Negligence depends on carelessness; if you were more careless than the average person, you could be liable. So the question is whether the average reasonable person would have noticed that there was a car parked perpendicular to theirs, in that position.

So the specific circumstances will determine whether or not you were negligent and liability. The illegality of the parking doesn't enter into it, any more than if you had run over a person in the street, the fact that they were jaywalking would, of itself, prevent liability.


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