Who’s Responsible When a Driver Pulls Out of a Parking Spot and Hits a Double-Parked Car?

My daughter was parked in a parking lot. When she backed out, she hit the door of a double-parked car. Would she have been given a citation? Would the person illegally parked have been cited? Who pays for the damage? My daughter’s car was undamaged.

ANSWER from Purchase, George & Murphey:

Your daughter is legally responsible to pay for the damage she caused when she backed into a parked car. However, your daughter’s insurance company is required to indemnify her (i.e., to pay the amounts that she is legally required to pay). So, at the end of the day, it’s your daughter’s insurance company that will pay for the damages. They should be called immediately if your daughter hasn’t called them already.

The citation issue is one that can go either way. Police officers are not required to issue citations for every violation. Moreover, if this was a private parking lot, then the officer may be particularly reluctant to issue a citation. In any event, the issuance of a citation (or lack thereof) won’t have much bearing on the issue of responsibility for the damage.

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