Illegally Parked Car Crashes: What You Need to Know About Filing a Claim in Minnesota

no parking sign on poleIf one of the vehicles involved in a car crash was parked, the driver of the other vehicle is most likely at fault. The situation could become more complicated if the car that got hit was illegally parked.

Is it possible for the driver who illegally parked the vehicle to be found partially at fault? What if the parked vehicle was hard to see?

Victims of illegally parked car crashes who were injured may be able to file claims for compensation. If you have questions after a Minnesota car crash, contact TSR Injury Law’s Minneapolis vehicle accident lawyers. We can discuss legal options and we have the resources and experience to guide you through the legal process.

TSR Injury Law. No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

What is the Definition of an Illegally Parked Vehicle in Minnesota?

An illegally parked vehicle is one that is parked in violation of state law. Under Section 169.34 of Minnesota Statutes, it is illegal to park a vehicle in any of the locations listed below:

  • Sidewalk
  • In an intersection
  • In a crosswalk
  • At the front of a driveway, whether public or private
  • Within 10 feet of a fire hydrant
  • Within 20 feet from a crosswalk at an intersection
  • Within 30 feet of a flashing beacon, stop sign or other traffic-control signal on the side of the road
  • On any elevated structure on a highway (bridge) or in a tunnel, unless the law says otherwise
  • Within 50 feet of railroad crossings
  • In a bicycle lane, unless a sign permits parking
  • Anywhere that signs prohibit parking
  • Next to a vehicle that is stopped or parked at the curb or street’s edge
  • Next to an excavation of the street or any obstruction if your vehicle would obstruct traffic or cause traffic to stop
  • Less than 20 feet from an entrance to a fire station or on the side of any street within 75 feet of the entrance
  • Between an adjacent curb and a safety zone; inside of 30 points from the curb that is opposite the end of the safety zone

The only time parking in any of these locations may be legal is if it is necessary to avoid other traffic, or you are being directed to park in these locations by the police or a traffic control device.

Parking in any of these locations is not only illegal, but it can also increase the risk of another car hitting yours. Parking rules are meant to prevent you from getting into a crash and prevent passing cars from hitting yours.

A crash with a parked car could cause serious injuries. Even though the other car was not moving, you may have been going fast enough to cause extensive damage. Even at 20 mph, you could suffer a serious injury that creates significant medical bills. For example, your head could whip forward, causing whiplash. You could also suffer other soft-tissue injuries such as sprains and contusions. This is why it is so important for drivers to only park or stop their vehicles where the law allows.

Who is at Fault for an Illegally Parked Car Crash in Minnesota?

Typically, if a crash involves one vehicle that was stopped and another that was in motion, the driver of the car that was moving is likely going to be held liable. However, the situation is more complicated when one of the vehicles was parked illegally.

In these situations, one of the most important questions is whether you could have avoided a collision with the parked vehicle. If the crash happened in the daytime and the other car was clearly visible, it would be difficult to hold the other driver at fault.

Even if another driver does something illegal, you may have time to slow down, stop or change lanes to avoid a crash. If it was reasonable for you to take steps to avoid a collision and you did not, the crash may be your fault. If you are unable to avoid a collision because you were distracted or speeding, you are probably the at-fault party.

However, if you were on a dark street at night and it was hard to see a double-parked vehicle, it may have been much harder for you to avoid a crash. For example, if you were coming around a blind corner and a vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road or halfway in the road and another car is coming in the other direction, you might be unable to slow down or stop to prevent a crash.

Another example would be a collision in a roundabout, particularly if the crash happened at night. Sometimes it is difficult to see around the curve of a roundabout because of landscaping in the middle. If a car is stopped, you might not see it until you are right up behind it and a collision may be unavoidable.

If a driver’s car stops running for some reason and the driver stops the car in the middle of the road, without turning on his or her hazard lights, that driver might be partially at fault for a collision with a passing vehicle.

What if I Was in the Parked Vehicle?

Even though you broke the law by parking where you did, another driver may be the sole party at fault for the collision. You may be able to seek compensation from that driver’s liability insurance policy. The other driver that hit you may have been negligent for hitting your car, especially if they were driving reckless, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Illegally parked car crash cases can be complex, which is why you should discuss the situation with an experienced attorney.

What Happens if the Other Driver is Partially at Fault?

In Minnesota, you are responsible for the percentage of damages that corresponds to your percentage of fault for a collision. In other words, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault, you can only recover 80 percent of the cost of your damages. State law also prohibits you from recovering compensation if you are more at fault than the other party involved in the claim.

What this means for a crash with an illegally parked vehicle is you could only recover compensation in a liability claim if your percentage of fault was less than the other driver’s percentage of fault. Any percentage of fault you bear will be deducted from compensation you recover.

Filing a Claim After a Crash With an Illegally Parked Car

Even if you cannot file a liability claim against the driver of the parked car, you should be able to file a no-fault claim with your own insurance company. Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection insurance. This type of insurance covers medical expenses and other damages no matter who is at fault for a crash.

What to Do After an Illegally Parked Car Crash

You should move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic. If it was hard for you to avoid a crash, it may be hard for other drivers to avoid one as well.

It is illegal to leave the scene of a car crash. If you hit a parked car and the owner is not there, you should leave a note on the parked car. The note should include your contact information, insurance information and other information you would exchange with the driver if he or she was there.

It is also understandable to expect you to make a reasonable effort to find the driver. If anyone else is there, ask if they know the driver or how to contact him or her.

If you were injured, you should call 9-1-1. They will most likely send a police officer to the scene to investigate and complete a report as well as an ambulance for medical evaluation.

While you wait for the police to arrive, you can try to collect evidence. This could include pictures of the damage to both of your vehicles. You can also photograph the location and damage created by the crash, such as skid marks or debris. That said, be cautious. You do not want to be walking around in an open lane of traffic and risk getting hit by a passing car.

Call to Discuss Your Car Crash

Many car crash victims think they do not need an attorney. They assume they can file an insurance claim on their own and get the compensation they need.

However, your injuries could be worse than you think. Insurance companies routinely try to underpay claims, even if victims were seriously injured.

TSR Injury Law has been taking on insurance companies for decades. Our attorneys have secured millions for crash victims and our services come with no upfront fees.

We are ready to help you seek compensation. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

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