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Hit a truck illegally parked in a home depot parking lot. Is there any liability on the party parked illegally?

Vacaville, CA |

A truck parked in a no parking spot ignoring the no parking sign age . As I backed out realized I was net going to make it but was unable to stop before making contact , which was minor . My bumper was pushed bent and dented his door panel . Very minor damage and can be popped out from the inside . My insurance is paying claiming I'm at fault . There's no vehicle code that says I'm at fault . Does this other driver , who knowingly parked illegally , bear any responsibility for the collision by parking illegally ? Or can people park however they want and damn the consequences ?

Has anyone sued in a situation such as this claiming the illegally parked vehicle was a contributor to the accident and won? Could Home Depot, where the accident occurred be held liable for not enforcing their no parking policy?

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Attorney answers 11

Posted

Unfortunately your last sentence most likely sums it up

Asker

Posted

Apparently. So much for personal responsibility.

Posted

That car was not moving and you hit it. If it were a rock or a sign or a child would you be at fault?
Since the damage is small, count your blessings and move on.

Asker

Posted

Damage is not small. This is costing me over $3,000 in premiums increases. No accidents, tickets, clean driving record. This a-hole parks irresponsibly, and before I can stop in time I hit him and I'm the one that pays? That's f'd up!! This guy files a claim and gets his truck fix with no resource. What happened to personal responsibility?

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

I thought you said, "I was unable to stop before making contact , which was minor." To me, that translates to minor damages too. I think you're right about taking personal responsibility for your actions.

Asker

Posted

As I was backing up I realized I wasn't going to make it that the truck was in the way. I dented his door panel maybe an 1/2" deep, no crease. It'll pop out. But my premiums are going up and before they go back down to where I am today four years will have elapsed and will have cost me roughly $3,000 in increased premiums. So this guy parks wherever with total disregard for the well being of his vehicle and I'm the poor schmuck that ends up paying while he gets his truck fixed at my expense. And I have no recourse?

Posted

Unfortunately you hit the car so technically you are at fault.

Posted

You hit a parked vehicle. Its hard to argue that you are not liable. On the other hand, you have an argument that the truck was also "at fault" or "negligent" or "liable," however; it would be a far reach to claim that the parked vehicle was more at fault than you.

no attorney client relationship has been formed.

Posted

The "last clear chance" doctrine frequently applies to a person not originally the cause of an accident, but that could have avoided it.

A parked vehicle generally has no chance to avoid an accident . . .

Asker

Posted

A "legally" parked car has no chance to avoid an accident. The man chose to park illegally and risks damaging his vehicle. Technically, his illegal parking caused the accident. So he's irresponsible and I pay for it? Yeah that's fair!!

Posted

Unfortunately, you probably still have some liability, but if you have auto insurance, which is required by law in California, let your insurance company deal with it, although you will be responsible for any deductable? If the damage to the truck is not too great, try making a deal with the other driver, 50/50 as he was parked illegally and but for that, the accident would not have occurred. That way you can avoid any increased premium or the risk your carrier will drop you for having a claim?

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

Asker

Posted

I'm dropping the carrier. This mans irresponsibility is costing over $3,000, maybe $4,000 before I'm back down to where I was before the lame ass decided he could park wherever. Now I know how to get my car fixed on the cheap.

Constantine D. Buzunis

Constantine D. Buzunis

Posted

Well, if you feel you are in the right, sue him in small claims for damage to your car and finding of responsibility for the cause of the accident (declaratory relief) and see what the judge will do? I personally think it is a shared liability as you still had a duty to look out for where you were driving? Did you not see the car before you got back in your car to leave?

Asker

Posted

I noticed the truck parked but it was not immediately evident that it would pose an impediment to my leaving. The parking stalls were part of a one-way drive through you find at most Home Depot's near the contractors entrance. As I angled to the right back out I noticed the truck parked to my left and as I looked in the rear view mirror I noticed the truck that was illegally parked was in a position that I was not going to exit and I hit the break about the same time as I was making contact with the truck. I have been reviewing the last clear chance doctrine and my liability is not so cut and dry. Under California's Last Clear Chance doctrine the plaintiff has to be unaware that his negligence has put him in danger and that he is unaware of this danger. Parking in a clearly marked "No Parking" zone would make plaintiff aware of his danger based on his negligent act of illegally parking. Know that by illegally parking he ran the risk of having his property damaged and he doesn't use ordinary care and move to a more suitable location he is guilty of continuing negligence and that prevents him from any damages. There would be no question of liability if he was legally parked and I hit him in whatever manner that occurred.

Constantine D. Buzunis

Constantine D. Buzunis

Posted

that is why I think this is a case of shared liability, you may be able to win over the judge in small claims? I would recreate the accident, by taking two similar vehicles to Home Depot and placing them in same place and take lots of photos to show the no parking signs, the striping on the ground and the positions of the cars parked, just before and at impact. See what happens? I have been a lawyer since 1985 and I have done hundreds of these auto cases as a lawyer and just pro tem. I think the odds are that it is a shared liability case 8 times out of ten, and you might win it 2 of 10? But if the insurance compnay has the case, it will be hard to convince them to fight it, as they just want to pay it off and close the file, too expensive to litigate. Their contract with you says they can settle even if you disagree. Good Luck.

Asker

Posted

The insurance company is paying on the basis of last clear chance or what they called 'unsafe backup'. The issue I'm having is being financially penalized for another man's negligent actions while the other man gets off scott free. And while I did have the last clear chance, the other guy's continued negligence played a big part. In this case the guy knew he was parking in a no parking zone. He even admitted knowing about the no parking sign. The sign said "No Parking Loading Zone'. The on-duty manager at Home Depot said no one is suppose to park where he was parked. When you look at the three elements of Last Clear Chance doctrine, plaintiff cannot satisfy the first element which reads, "The plaintiff has been negligent, and as a result, he is in a position of danger of which he is wholly unaware, or from which he cannot escape by the exercise of ordinary care." Plaintiff clearly meets the the first part of the sentence of the first element where he's been negligent. But he fails the second part about being wholly unaware of his danger for he saw the no parking signage, and that signage put him on notice that his property could be in danger if he remained there. He completely fails the third part since he could escape by the exercise of ordinary care simply by moving in a more appropriate location. I believe your share liability thought is coming from the rule of comparative negligence where each party involved share some responsibility. According to an article titled "Recent Developments in California's Last Clear Chance Doctrine" by Myron L. Garon 10-31-1952, "the doctrine does not wholly eliminate the rule of contributory negligence, for if after having gotten himself into a position of danger, the plaintiff, realizing his peril, fails to use ordinary care to extricate himself, he is guilty of "continuing negligence" which does prevent him from recovering damages from the defendant".(Jacobsen v. Vaughn, 131 Cal. App. 277, 283, 21 P.2d 141, 143 (1933)). My argument is that plaintiff realized his peril when he saw the no parking sign and then fails to use ordinary care by choosing to ignore the signage and not extricate himself by moving to a more appropriate location.

Constantine D. Buzunis

Constantine D. Buzunis

Posted

well if you are that committed, then demand your carrier not pay him as they are impairing your right to sue for your damages! Sue him in Small Claims ASAP and then send the insurer a copy telling them they will be committing "bad faith" against you if they settle and have your day in court with the defendant. Better be able to prove all you say above, including his alleged admissions?!

Asker

Posted

My damages are coming from the increased premiums that will be imposed by my insurance carrier over the next four years. If they don't pay and my rates don't go up than I have no reason to sue except for my deductible. But if my rates go up simply because he files a claim then his negligence has caused me harm and my only remedy is to sue to recover my future damages.

Posted

The consequence would be a parking ticket. Other potential consequences depend upon the facts. So if the truck parked illegally and as a result a person exiting the store wouldnt be seen by a driver coming across the pkg lot, and the person gets hit, the truck could be sued as part of the cause. If you were backing up, and suddenly the trusk pulled in behind you in a spot it shouldnt be parking in, the truck could be at fault.

Asker

Posted

The truck driver parked and walked into the store. There is signage that says "No parking. Loading Zone". There are 4 marked parking spots but he has a trailer so he can't park in one of the stalls. I don't think anything of it when I get in my truck. As I back up I'm looking at and I see I'm not going to make it. I stop in time to avoid major damage to his door, but there's damage none the less. I think he should be responsible for my increased premiums for his irresponsibility. So we talk a good game about personal responsibility but we don't really mean it. :(

Posted

Being that you struck a parked car you're at fault.

Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.

Asker

Posted

Yeah let me park behind you so you can't get out and before you realize you barely tap my vehicle and your rates increase by $3,000 and tell me how at fault you were. :(

Posted

I am sorry but unfortunately, it seems like the consensus of opinion is that you are in the wrong. Additionally, your insurance carrier is saying the same thing.

Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

Asker

Posted

Yeah I know but I think they are wrong. The take-away is I'm at fault because I was the one driving and there was no one in the parked vehicle. I'm finding that The Restatement of Torts §§ 479 & 480 tends to support the consensus that "Last clear chance" prevails in the plaintiff's favor. However upon closer inspection the plaintiff fails to meet the first element of both. §479(a) says, "A plaintiff who has negligently subjected himself to a risk of harm from the defendant's subsequent negligence may recover for harm caused thereby if, immediately preceding the harm (a) the plaintiff is unable to avoid it by the exercise of reasonable vigilance and care". The plaintiff was able to avoid it by not parking in the no parking zone. His negligence was he knew he knew he was parking in a no parking zone and that it put him at risk. So he fails the first element and we need not continue to the other two. §480(a) says, "A plaintiff who, by the exercise of reasonable vigilance . . ." Here plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable vigilance when he parked illegally and therefore cannot benefit from "last clear chance".

Posted

Unlikely, but simply let your insurance company to resolve.

Posted

Based on your posting, it appears you are completely at fault. You are not supposed to hit fixed objects, regardless of their location. Let your insurance company resolve this matter for you.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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