Re: Hitting a parked truck on street that is illegally parked -- with a slight twist (warning: this is somewhat long)

richard wrote:
"Zarlot531" <xyzer@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
So, I'm driving along a rather narrow, 4-lane road today at lunch time,
with cars parked on the sides of the road. I'm doing a normal speed,
but the car a tad bit in front and to the left of me seems to slow down
somewhat and at the same time come ever more slightly close to the
middle of the already-narrow street. I'm not sure how far he's going
to take it, so I move a little bit to the right in order to avoid
potentially hitting him as I pass. Well, I move just a hair too far to
the right, and I hear a BANG as my side-view mirror hits what sounds to
be the body of a car and I quickly but gently adjust my position in the
lane. Strangely enough, as I pull into the next parking lot to go
investigate, I notice that my side-view mirror "shell" is still in
place, but that the mirror is gone.

Anyway, like I said, I pull over into a parking lot a few yards ahead
and go check to see what I've hit so that I can leave a note giving my
personal information. After grabbing a pen and some paper, I walk back
to the area I've just passed and do a quick scan of the cars and
strangely enough notice no damage to any of them.

Then, I notice a truck. This is one of those rather large F-250/350
contractor looking trucks that have a metal "shell" on the back that
makes it look almost like a miniature ambulance. Even though the guy
had pulled into the parallel parking slot as much as he could (wheels
were on grass/sidewalk), the other side of his truck was about around a
foot or so outside the lines.

Then, as I'm standing behind the truck noticing this, I notice a
rear-view mirror on the ground. It all comes together to me. I think
to myself that I must have barely hit the metal back end of this truck,
enough to force my mirror out of the mirror casing without ripping it
off completely. I pick up the mirror and write down the information on
the back of the contractors truck, as I noticed no observable damage to
the truck. Perhaps, I thought, that was b/c the truck paint and my
car's paint were fairly close. I wasn't quite sure.

Then, as I'm standing there behind the truck, the contractor truck man
actually comes out and begins to talk to me. He asks what's going on,
and I tell him that I think I hit his truck and that I'm holding my
shattered mirror in my hands. I point to my car about 30 yards away.
He looks at his truck and doesn't seem to see any damage either, and
basically we just agree that it's no big deal. Initially, I actually
had written his information down b/c he was parked well outside the
lines, so I thought I might be able to get something from his insurance
company, but really after we finished talking I figured I would just
fix it myself, since actually it would still probably technically be my
fault (although I'm still not sure).

Anyway, now here's the weird and perhaps kind of stupid part on my
part... When I get back to my car, I put the shattered mirror in the
passenger's seat (basically just getting it out of the road) and go on
to eat lunch. Then, when I come back to my car to eat lunch, I take
another look at the mirror in the passenger seat and I think to
myself..."wait, that mirror is too big to be mine." Upon further
inspection, it indeed was too big to be mine. So, I go back to the
scene of the incident after I eat lunch, but of course find no cars
that are missing a side-view mirror. I must have somehow missed the
car that was missing a side-view mirror i my quick scan, and then when
I saw the truck so far out of the space, I figured I must have hit it.
In addition, in my quick scan, I think I may have focused too much on
the body of cars themselves (below the mirror) because it sounded so
loud (to me at least) I thought I had hit the body of a vehicle.

So, what I decided to do was call the city police and told them that if
anyone calls them regarding someone ripping off their side-view mirror
and not leaving a note, to tell them to call me at my number... I
didn't know what else to do at that point. They said they would.

But, anyway... back to the original point of the question.

Say I had hit that truck... Is hitting a parked vehicle always your
fault, even when illegally parked? Or would this vary by state?

I'm a trucker. I drive a nice big rig you see on the hiways. I just have to
ask. Did you not see this contractor's truck at any time before you hit it?
No right? Why?

Well, like I said, I BARELY hit the truck, and it wasn't like it was
out of its space by a huge amount. This is about subtlety really.
Also, I'm not even sure that's the vehicle I hit now, but I didn't
realize that until later and that's not really the point here.

As a trucker, it is my professional duty to know what it is around me at all
times. Specially cars parked on the side of the road, legal or not. What
I'm reading into this is, you feel that you have the legal rights to do
almost anything on the road. Ok, so the other guy was encroaching upon your
turf. What did you do? Attempt to pass as he comes closer? Wrong move. Do
you know why they call it the suicide lane? You almost found out.
What was wrong with slowing down and letting him get into your lane, then
passing him on the left as you are supposed to do? After all, you did state
this was a four lane road. Not a two lane with nowhere to go.

Well, you would have had to see how it happened. I was right behind
the guy and to his right, and it wasn't like he was moving over in a
dramatic fashion. It was more like he was moving over just a bit too
much to the middle, and I just moved over a little to make sure I
didn't hit him, so, yes, maybe my eyes did wander off of the road ahead
of me for a little bit too long or too many times during those few
seconds and I missed the truck or whatever I hit sticking out. I
didn't think really he was going to come over all the way really, but
then again I wasn't positive. Still, though, on a narrow street one
who is parked outside the lines might expect something like this to
happen. That is, I barely hit whatever it was that I hit, as evidenced
by the scraping on the edge of the casing of my side-view mirror. But,
anyway, I realize it probably was technically my fault anyway, but I
was just going to write down his info anyway in case I perhaps had some
case based on my info. I realize I probably didn't now...and it turns
out I probably didn't even hit that truck.. but anyway

Now you have paid for the price for your negligence. Luckily, without to
much damage. Then you want the guy of the truck to pay for the damage you
caused? I don't think so. What would you do had the truck been a telephone
pole? Call the pole owner and make them pay up? Yeah right.

Ok, so you call the cops and report the accident. The cop says, "Let me
understand this correctly. You say you were not aware that this vehicle was
parked here when you hit it? Perhaps you should have your eyes checked."

I was aware the truck was there ...I knew when that car was gettig
close to the middle that I was going through a tight squeeze, but even
if I had slowed down or slammed on the breaks I still would have gone
through a tight squeeze for a little while, and if someone is sticking
out when you have to move over because someone is moving toward you on
a narrow road, then I don't know what else I could have done to avoid
not going through an extremely tight squeeze (when someone is sticking
out) and slamming the breaks really would not have been safe. Again,
this is hypothetical since I don't think I even hit the truck... But


IMHO, sir, you failed to observe a road hazard and because of that, damaged
your vehicle.
It's your expense and responsiblity in every way.

Yeah, probably true technically, but that particular truck should
expect a much greater chance of being at least grazed when it's out of
the lines. Perhaps to be safe it should park elsewhere.