Backed into a car parked in a fire lane...

by Meredith
(Schaumburg, IL)

I was involved in a minor accident after carefully pulling out (backwards) from a parking spot at a restaurant. I hit a car parked in the fire lane, waiting for a take-out order.

Even though I was backing out slowly and carefully, I didn't have enough room to straighten out my vehicle and bumped the car in the fire lane. I scratched the car behind me enough to scratch off a tiny bit of paint. Unfortunately, the vehicle I hit was a Mercedes $$$$$$$.

There was more damage to my car than to the car that I hit, but I assume that I'm still at fault? I exchanged insurance info and phone# with the driver, but I'm worried that I will still have to pay a hefty fine. I called a police officer to make a report but, since there were no injuries, he did not write any tickets.

I'm hoping that this case won't have to go to court. Am I 100% at fault? Does it even matter that the car I hit was parked in a fire lane, where it shouldn't have been in the first place? The police officer said that our two insurance companies will "work it out." I'm wondering if there is anything else that I can do?

Thanks for your time and any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Backed into a car parked in a fire lane...":

Meredith (Schaumburg, IL):

Contact you insurance company and report the accident. You have a contractual obligation to do so. The Mercedes driver or owner will likely report the accident to his or her insurance company. Explain to your insurance that the Mercedes was illegally parked.

You are right. The owner of the Mercedes contributed to the accident. His or her negligence, also called "comparative negligence," should be factored into the settlement equation. With your information, your insurance company may decide to pay the Mercedes owner a lesser amount than required to pay for the repairs to his or her car.

The police officer is correct. The insurance companies will likely work it out. Unfortunatley, there is no way to tell whether or not your insurance company will hold the accident against you. That will probably be determined based on your history, or lack thereof, of accidents and other claims.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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