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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default Accident While Parallel Parking

    My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: MA

    Following a sunny day at the Franklin Park Zoo, my girlfriend and I decided to stop at one of the many Quiznos that dots Massachusetts. This involved some parallel parking. She, doing the driving, came to a stop in the right lane of a four lane, two way street (it's not divided by lines, for whatever reason, which sometimes confuses drivers new to the area). The car behind us, a little compact, gave us ample room to back into an open space, and so she began the parking maneuver.

    Slightly more than half-way into the space, a boxy Scion came down the street and I, looking toward the curb didn't quite see the contact, but I did hear it. The front passenger side door of the Scion was scraping against our front left bumper. The elderly driver of the Scion immediately started screaming at us to move out of the street, which, unfortunately, we did-- without being able to take any pictures of the positioning of the vehicles. The scratch on her door didn't look serious at the time (ahaha) and we were driving an old, used sedan, so the bumper wasn't in beautiful shape to begin with. Because of that, we didn't call the police, instead just exchanging insurance information.

    Here's a diagram: http://imgur.com/sp7Pn.png

    My girlfriend insists that the street around her had been completely clear, and, from when I had looked at the beginning of the maneuver, it was. She's a good driver and this is her first accident. The only way the Scion driver could have come into contact with our half-parked car was if she was driving in both lanes of the street simultaneously. I'm assuming that the woman, who we did not see before the bump, had grown impatient at waiting in the right lane for someone's parallel parking and had swung around and either failed to correct her course or thought that she was in a single lane way.

    Is it worth contesting this? Does it sound hopeless to prove that she was less than 50% at fault? Help!

    At the same time, the insurance company decided to pay out over $2000 for this beauty: http://imgur.com/atmGW.jpg and simply listed the whole incident as "operator struck another vehicle while reversed" on the state's SDIP form. This, after the claims agent had told us that they would get in touch to investigate the matter beyond taking my girlfriend's name/DL#/etc. They didn't-- when we called to complain, the agent hadn't even recorded the layout of the street. We had to re-explain that it was, in fact, a two lane way!

    edit: The reasoning for the fifty percent+ at fault, according to the SDIP form, is that she "backed" into the Scion. This did not happen; I'm confused as to what the insurance company had recorded as to their reasoning.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    It would be very odd, indeed, for somebody to be able to drive around the car that was stopped to let your girlfriend park, then get back in front of it so close to your vehicle that she would hit it while parallel parking. How did the other driver claim the accident occurred?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    The other driver stated that, while stopped in heavy traffic, my girlfriend hit her door. Nothing more specific than that, as far as I know. This is, of course, not what happened: in addition to what I posted above, there was virtually no traffic and we had a green light at the intersection ahead of us-- the Scion was in motion, albeit slow motion.

    The auto insurance company has referred us to a supervisor, though they insist that the case was handled properly. I hope that we can at least win the appeal to avoid the surcharge + associated issues.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    I find your claims implausible. As Mr. K stated, for a vehicle to go around the vehicle and then swoop in to be close enough that you hit them does not sound reasonable.

    also, unless the laws have changed, if there are no lines, there are no lanes. We have several roads in my area (different state so obviously it does not provide an legal insight into your situation) that sound like how you described your road. The problem is, regardless of what the locals think or how "everybody else" drives the road, there is only one lane in each direction. If there are actually only two lanes, it could be advantageous to your friends situation but depending on all the facts, it might not make any difference.


    anyway, unless the other car actually hit your friends car, your friend is liable. She had the duty to not hit another vehicle and the fact she is so lacking in details of how this happened tells me she just wasn't paying attention to what was happening to her left.

    .
    I'm assuming that the woman, who we did not see before the bump, had grown impatient at waiting in the right lane for someone's parallel parking and had swung around and either failed to correct her course or thought that she was in a single lane way.
    it is the duty of the person in your friends position to continually ensure she has a clear path. She didn't apparently


    an invisible lane divider?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    The city's police department tells us that it is a two lane road, as is pretty plain when you drive on it. This is Arlington's main street, complete with a pretty constant police presence. No one has argued that it was not a four lane, two way lane.

    We were already angled and moving backward to the curb-- the front of the car had swung out as much as it was going to go. This was after looking to the left: both she and I saw nothing beside the stopped car directly behind us. She turned her head over her right shoulder to back the car in. I did the same over mine. The collision occurred only after our car had started to swing back into line for parking, meaning that the other driver would have to have moved into us. I would assume that creating a dangerous situation by driving down the middle of a two lane road-- it was only a scrape, so obviously the woman was not entirely in the right lane-- isn't cool in any state.

    edit: logical lane divider

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    E=Insanite;408136]The city's police department tells us that it is a two lane road, as is pretty plain when you drive on it. This is Arlington's main street, complete with a pretty constant police presence. No one has argued that it was not a four lane, two way lane.
    I know of no jurisdiction where the police make such a determination and many situations where the police have actually been wrong in such claims. It is the duty of the highway department or DOT in control of the jurisdiction to make the determination. The thing is, if it is considered a 4 lane road, it doesn't help your case anyway. If it were only a 2 lane, it might.

    The collision occurred only after our car had started to swing back into line for parking, meaning that the other driver would have to have moved into us
    . No, if there was no contact until you started moving, as stated here, it still looks like your friends fault.

    If he pulled up to within a half an inch of your car and stopped and then you hit him, it is still your fault.

    Unless your friend or the guy that was stopped behind you waiting for you to park can testify the guy hit you, I just don't see any reasonable defense to support it was not your friends fault.


    edit: logical lane divider
    I just saw the notation as humorous.

    Does it sound hopeless to prove that she was less than 50% at fault?
    Based on what you have posted, yes, I believe so.

    I do think you are getting taken for a ride on the cost of the repair though. If your insurance is paying for it it probably doesn't make any difference but $2k for that damage really does sound high.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    California
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    666

    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    I can actually see how this may have happened the way you describe, particularly if your girlfriend happened to get a little steep backing to the curb. I don't quite understand the damage unless the camera angle is playing tricks - it appears that the scratch is going "downhill" from front to back.

    I'm a bit confused about the insurance situation. You state that you exchanged insurance information; then later you refer to "the" insurance company as though only one was involved. Assuming this is your insurance company and it is the one that approved $2,000 for her, they are the ones that you need to convince. If they are paying the claim and assessing you as being at fault, you don't really care about the dollar amount. You care about the fault part. So, I would do everything possible to convince them of what you feel happened - althugh insurance companies love to do the "shared fault" thing so they can apply penalties to both drivers.

    While your description of what happened may sound unusual, no one could ever parallel park if anyone could freely come up from behind (or the side in your case) and hit them at will. There is a big difference between backing into another vehicle and having impact on the side of a vehicle while backing towards the curb. I can, on the other hand, see how similar damage could occur had the Scion been stopped beside you or drving past you and the front of your car passed into its plane as your girlfriend was backing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    Quote Quoting Scott67
    View Post
    While your description of what happened may sound unusual, no one could ever parallel park if anyone could freely come up from behind (or the side in your case) and hit them at will. There is a big difference between backing into another vehicle and having impact on the side of a vehicle while backing towards the curb. I can, on the other hand, see how similar damage could occur had the Scion been stopped beside you or drving past you and the front of your car passed into its plane as your girlfriend was backing.
    This is what I'm trying to say. The only motion we were making was *away* from the other car-- the other driver came too close to us, causing their side and our bumper corner to make contact. If the other driver had not attempted to move through us, the collision would not have happened. They scraped against us after we had begun moving toward the curb, having made sure that the space was clear around us to so. It's as if the other driver decided that she wanted to move into the right lane after passing the stopped car ahead of her, but, realizing that it was not sufficiently clear for her to pass, tried to keep some of her car in the left lane. She did not, however, leave enough space on her right to do so safely without grazing us. I cannot see how this is <50% my girlfriend's fault.

    As far as I can tell looking at the standards of fault for MA, doing this sort of thing is grounds for being found at fault for an auto accident-- backing into a parking space on the side of a roadway and having someone try to ram through you rather than wait until their path is clear, to use a little hyperbole, is not.

    Is there any sort of due process law at work with auto insurance companies? I think it's a little funny that the judgement was made, thus forcing us to fork up the $50 to appeal the surcharge, without knowing what happened. The agent seriously took my girlfriend's name, phone number and license info, and then said that we would be contacted later to give more details. I was in the room at the time-- I heard this.

    And yes, the scrape was as the camera shows.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Accident While Parallel Parking

    The only motion we were making was *away* from the other car-
    Now you really killed any defense you had. If you were moving away from the other car, there is no way possible the damage seen in the picture could have happened. The damage shows the other car would not only had to have been moving forward but sideways as well so as to remain in contact with your friends car.

    And as more support that it was not the other cars fault, your drawing shows that to be an impossibility. You don't even show the other car at an angle that might allow it to be driven closer to the curb, which would have been necessary to maintain contact with your friends vehicle.

    If you look at the picture, you will notice as it is closer to the rear of the vehicle, the damage is worse. The simple explanation for that is: your friend did still have her wheels turned so as she reversed, the front of the car swung outward driving he bumper further into the other vehicle.

    but the biggest killer for your defense: you cannot state what the other car was doing. That means you and your friend were not looking at the traffic. If she was moving with due care, she would have seen the other car and stopped. The fact the impact did not take place until your friend started moving shows she hit the other car, not the other way around.

    You have already stated the traffic was moving very slowly so this car didn't fly up beside your car at 90 mph.

    So, unless somebody testifies the other car was at fault in some way, you simply cannot overcome what appears to be your friends fault.

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