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Can the owner of an illegally parked car be held accountable for an accident?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2023 | Car Accidents

Any car crash has the potential to cause catastrophic damage or injury. Even a collision involving a parked car can be devastating, and such a collision becomes more likely if the stopped vehicle is in a no-parking zone.

One question that might arise is whether you can hold the owner of an illegally parked car responsible if an accident occurs involving their vehicle.

Understanding illegal parking

Illegal parking refers to the act of leaving a vehicle in a location in which the law prohibits parking. This can include blocking fire hydrants, parking in front of driveways or ignoring designated no-parking zones.

Liability for Accidents

The liability for an accident involving an illegally parked car can vary depending on the circumstances of the collision. In some cases, the person directly responsible for causing the accident is the one at fault. However, legal responsibility can extend to the owner of the illegally parked vehicle under certain conditions:

  • Proximity to the Accident: If the illegally parked car played a direct role in causing the accident due to proximity, the owner might be liable for damages. For example, if the parked car obstructed the view of other drivers, the owner could be partially at fault.


  • Contributing to Dangerous Conditions: If an accident occurs because a driver had to swerve or make sudden movements to avoid an illegally parked car, the owner could be liable for creating a dangerous situation.


  • Negligence in Parking: If the owner of the illegally parked car demonstrated negligence in parking, such as double-parking or blocking a roadway, this might be a factor in determining liability.

The National Safety Council reports that tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots or garages each year. This implies that a surprising amount of collisions involve parked cars, many of which may be illegally parked.