If someone is parked in your driveway without permission and you hit the car, whose fault is it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If someone is parked in your driveway without permission and you hit the car, whose fault is it?

A car was parked in my driveway hidden to the side of my garage and I backed up and hit it not knowing it was there. Whose fault is it?

Asked on July 30, 2018 under Accident Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It was your fault. That's not to say that they could park in your driveway with impunity--you could have had them ticketed and/or towed, for example, and possibly charged the car's owner in some circumstances with trespassing--but "fault" for purposes of who is liable for auto damage/repairs is based on carelessness or negligence. It is careless or negligent to hit a stationary object, since you are expected look around (e.g. use your mirror) and drive slowly enough for the situation that you won't hit an obstacle in your way.

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