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  1. #1
    sthompson1755 is offline Junior Member
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    Car Accidents on Private Property

    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.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    MI's no fault laws say that you are only responsible for the deductible for a car you damage. HOWEVER, I believe there is an exception when you hit a PARKED car. Make no mistake, you are 110% at fault for hitting a PARKED CAR. Report the accident to your insurance company. If you are liable, they will pay whatever you are liable for.
  3. #3
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    MI's no fault laws say that you are only responsible for the deductible for a car you damage. HOWEVER, I believe there is an exception when you hit a PARKED car. Make no mistake, you are 110% at fault for hitting a PARKED CAR. Report the accident to your insurance company. If you are liable, they will pay whatever you are liable for.
    first, in a typical accident, you are liable for up to $500 of damages not covered by insurance, unless there is serious impairment of body function or death. Then it gets into another issue altogether.

    If you hit a legally parked car, the no-fault situation does not apply. The person causing the damage is 100% liable. If you do not want to pay this out of your pocket, turn it over to your insurance company to handle. Since this is withing the minimum mandatory coverage required by law, it would be covered under you PLPD section of your insurance.

    500.3123 Exclusions from property protection insurance benefits.

    Sec. 3123.

    (1) Damage to the following kinds of property is excluded from property protection insurance benefits:

    (a) Vehicles and their contents, including trailers, operated or designed for operation upon a public highway by power other than muscular power, unless the vehicle is parked in a manner as not to cause unreasonable risk of the damage which occurred.
    You can argue that last statement if you want but you are not going to win.
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I agree, she shouldn't have been blocking your driveway, but it was not ILLEGAL for her to park there, and there is no way you would have not been able to see her if you were paying proper time and attention to where you were going. Her car is not INVISIBLE and it was right behind you - in front of you when you walked out of the house. You just weren't paying attention.
  5. #5
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    Your PPI part of your no-fault coverage will cover hitting parked cars. Call YOUR insurance carrier. If the car had been in motion, then you'd need different liability coverage. In this case it's just "other property" as if you had run into a building or someone's mailbox.
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Your PPI part of your no-fault coverage will cover hitting parked cars. Call YOUR insurance carrier. If the car had been in motion, then you'd need different liability coverage. In this case it's just "other property" as if you had run into a building or someone's mailbox.
    if the car was in motion (or actually actively being driven since a car stopped at an intersection obviously is not a parked car), the only liability would be up to a max of $500 per the "mini-tort" limitation in Michigans no fault auto insurance laws.

    You do not need liability coverage for that $500, or any physical damage libility to another vehicle per Mi law. You are more than free to pay it out of your pocket. In fact, I do not purchase coverage for this myself so it would come out of my pocket if I were liable for an accident. Insurance costs less that way.
  7. #7
    sthompson1755 is offline Junior Member
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    Hit a parked car on private property

    Thanks for all the good advice. I will call my insurance company to see what they say. I'm a little disappointed that the Oakland County Sheriff who made the report mislead us about the law & our liability. He clearly said that each of our insurers would be responsible for our own cars if we made claims. He said that vehicles parked on private property are treated differently by the law and insurers than vehicles parked on public property.

    The "legally parked" issue burns me up a bit since that seems to imply that someone can be "legally parked" on private property without the owner's permission, effectively legalizing tresspassing. In fact, this person has been told many times to not park in our driveway in the past. Is a car "legally parked" if the driver is sitting inside with the keys in the ignition, smoking a cigarette, and watching the property owner maneuver around other vehicles in his driveway for nearly two (2) minutes. It seems to me that if a driver has immediate control of a vehicle, it is not really parked. You can get a DUI in Michigan if you are sitting in a parked car with the keys in the ignition for that very reason. These days people shut off their engines at long stop lights and railroad crossings. Are those cars "legally parked"? I think not.
    Thanks again!
  8. #8
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sthompson1755 View Post
    These days people shut off their engines at long stop lights and railroad crossings. Are those cars "legally parked"? I think not.
    Thanks again!
    Nope. they are not.

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