This accident happened in my driveway in Michigan last night. I would like to know what my legal responsibility is and what would likely happen if this case went to civil court.
One of my daughter's friends parked their car in my driveway without my permission. This person had been told many times in the past to park in the street, but they parked in my driveway anyway. I don't allow smoking in my home so our visitor was sitting in her car with the engine and lights off, smoking a cigarette before coming to our door. She had positioned her car between my other two (2) cars to completely block my exit from my driveway.
I came out last night at 10:00 p.m. between thunderstorms and got into my car. I saw my two (2) other cars in the driveway, but I did not see the visitor's car. After I started my car and turned the lights on, I slowly backed down my 100 Ft. driveway and turned to back between my two (2) other cars to get out of my driveway. It took me over one minute to arrive at the point where I bumped into the visitors car. At no time did she turn on her car, turn on her lights, or sound her horn. She just sat there blocking my driveway while smoking her cigarette. After I bumped her car, I stopped, pulled forward and got out of my car to see what I had hit. When I approached her car she was still sitting in it with no lights on and no engine running and still smoking her cigarette. I reminded her that she has been told repeatedly not to park in my driveway, so she moved her car to the street.
The damage to both cars seemed relatively minor, but the visitor insisted on a police report so we called the Oakland County Sheriff. A Deputy came out and took the report and told us before he did the paperwork that no traffic laws apply on private property and he thought a police report was not "really necessary" unless we insist. The visitor insisted on a police report, so we have one.
I felt bad for hitting a parked car and offered to pay the deductible if they made an insurance claim. She told me her deductible is $250.00 and I told them that if they did not make an insurance claim, I would still give them the deductible amount to apply to fixing the damage.
Today they called to say the collision shop repair estimate is $1,200.00 and they want me to pay the full amount TODAY. I told them that I would pay the deductible we agreed to, but no more.
Michigan is a "No Fault Insurance State" so I told her that she would need to make a claim on her insurance if she wanted the car repaired. The Deputy Sheriff told us the same thing last night when we made the report.
Am I legally liable for for any of the cost to repair her car? If they keep insisting that I pay $1,200.00 I may decide not to pay anything at all.
I don't plan to make an insurance claim on my car so I will eventually need to pay to have that fixed.