In the State of New York, whose fault is it when someone crashes into a parked car? The answer to that question will depend on the details, and if the damaged automobile is yours, you may need the advice and services of a Long Island auto accident attorney.

What are your rights if your automobile has been damaged – or totaled – while it was sitting parked on Long Island? What steps will you need to take? If you will keep reading this short discussion of accidents and parked cars in New York, you’ll find the answers you may need.

Who May Be Liable When a Parked Car Is Damaged?

In most cases, when someone crashes into a parked vehicle, the motorist in the moving vehicle will be liable, but there are factors that can shift the liability and change the amount of compensation that the parked vehicle’s owner will be able to recover.

The legal concept of “contributory negligence” determines how much liability each party has for a car accident in New York. For example, if an injury victim in an accident case is at least partially responsible for what happened, that is what’s called contributory negligence.

However, even if your car was parked illegally, the driver of the moving vehicle could be assigned one hundred percent of the fault, because a motorist in a moving vehicle has a duty to control that vehicle at all times.

Nevertheless, stopping or parking illegally is negligent driving. If your illegally parked vehicle could not be seen by other motorists, you may have a share of the liability for the accident. When liability for a parked car collision is determined, these factors are also taken into account:

  1.  where the vehicle was parked and where it was struck
  2.  the moving vehicle’s weight, size, and speed

If Someone Crashes Into Your Parked Car, Take These Steps

If you were not injured, but your vehicle suffered damage, you may not require the services of a Long Island auto accident lawyer. In a typical parked vehicle case, it may be more convenient for a vehicle owner to negotiate his or her own property damage claim.

If the accident was not a hit-and-run situation, and the driver who crashed into your vehicle finds or contacts you, obtain that driver’s name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, and contact details for the driver’s automobile insurance company. Take photographs of the damage.

If the damage to your vehicle surpasses $1,000, or if someone was injured, you must submit a report of the accident to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Your automobile insurance company can provide the form (Form MV-104).

Submit a damage claim to the negligent motorist’s auto insurance company, and if he or she has the coverage, that company should reimburse you. If the other driver’s coverage cannot cover the repairs fully, your own policy’s collision coverage probably makes up the difference.

How Do You Negotiate a Damage Claim?

Decide on how much it will take to repair your vehicle. Older repair receipts, estimates, and photographs can help. An insurance claims adjuster’s first offer to you may be exceedingly low – because some people accept low first offers.

Don’t accept a “lowball” offer or anything less than what you need to cover your damages and repair or replace the vehicle. Stay with the truth and the facts as you negotiate with the claims adjuster. Do not enhance or exaggerate any detail about the crash or the damage to your vehicle.

Any exaggeration might cause the company to deny your damage claim and could even land you in legal trouble for insurance fraud. When you reach an agreement with the insurance company, get it in writing, and you will probably receive your payout in just several weeks.

What If the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Isn’t Helpful?

Do not let a negligent driver’s automobile insurance company operate in bad faith or exploit you in any way. If the company doesn’t take seriously its responsibility to you, you may be able to bring legal action by filing a claim for insurance bad faith.

Insurance bad faith may include prolonging a claim investigation needlessly, trying to intimidate or coerce you into taking a low settlement amount, or rejecting your property damage claim for a contrived or disingenuous reason.

Bad faith claims must arise from the insurance company’s particular acts or failure to act. An insurance company may face a bad faith lawsuit for reasons including but not necessarily limited to the failure to:

  1.  investigate a claim for damages or handle the claim professionally
  2.  negotiate with you or offer a reasonable settlement amount
  3.  explain why your damage claim was denied
  4.  deny or pay your claim in a reasonable amount of time

If Your Car Is Parked and You Are Injured

As mentioned previously, if a driver crashes into your parked vehicle, but you were not injured, you may not need the services of a Long Island auto accident attorney. However, if you were in the vehicle, and you were injured, you will require an accident attorney’s help.

Vehicles are replaced all the time, but your future and your health are not replaceable, and they are your priorities. If you’re injured while you are sitting in, working on, or standing next to a parked vehicle, you must have the advice and services of a Long Island personal injury attorney.

Call or summon medical help at once for yourself or anyone who has been injured in the crash. As soon as you have been examined and/or treated by a health care provider, reach out to a Long Island auto accident lawyer for the advice and legal representation that you will very much need.

If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, you can probably be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other injury-related damages. But you must speak to an attorney at once, while the evidence and the memories of any witnesses are still fresh.

What Else Should You Know?

If you’ve been injured, whether your personal injury lawyer obtains a negotiated settlement or takes your injury claim to trial, you will pay no attorney’s fee unless and until you recover compensation.

And while you may not need an attorney for an accident that involves a parked vehicle, if there is a dispute regarding liability for the accident, or if the insurance company that you are dealing with is operating in bad faith, contact a Long Island traffic accident lawyer at once.