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Can I be held at-fault for car accident if I park illegally?


Question:  If I parked my car illegally, can I be found partially at-fault if my car is hit?

Your full question:  I was parked in a cul-de-sac at a residence along all the other vehicles visiting the same residence.  It was not blocking any driveways; however, one of the neighbors decides to drive straight back hitting my vehicle.  She admitted she was at fault; however, her insurance only wants to pay 75% of the damages because they say I was negligent for not parking right. Can they do this?

Answer: Yes, you can be held partially at-fault in this type of car accident if your state has a comparative negligence system in place.

Comparative negligence laws allow that fault can be divided up and placed on each driver if the car insurance company finds that both drivers were partially to blame for the incident. Then a car owner, such as you, can only recover for the portion of damages that were found to be caused by the other party's negligence.

The good news with comparative negligence is that even though the car insurance company of the other party found you to be partially responsible for causing the accident, they will pay out for some of your damages.

It would appear that the car insurance company, of the driver that backed into your vehicle, found that because you were parked illegally (or at least not in a reasonable manner in their opinion) you are 25 percent at fault for the accident. They found their policyholder 75 percent to blame and thus that is what portion of your repair costs they will pay out to you for your auto insurance claim.

Even if you were not blocking the driveway, if you were illegally parked or parked in a manner in which the person was unable to leave their own driveway, this would place some negligence upon you, and why the insurance company divided the blame 75/25.

While receiving only 75 percent of the cost of repairs for your vehicle may not be ideal, it is better than if you lived in a state with contributory negligence laws. This type of negligence laws disallows recovery by a driver whose actions in some way, however small, contributed to the accident.

So with contributory negligence laws you wouldn’t receive any type of settlement from the other insurance company since they found your partially at-fault for the incident.

If you believe that you were legally parked and used reasonable care so that the person could pull out of their driveway without hitting your car, you can try to fight how the blame was divided, but likely the car insurance company will stick with their decision that you were 25 percent at fault.

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