Idiot Hits Parked Car: The Law? [Canadian law]

The story: Today, roofers showed up to finish our new roof and add new eaves troughs. They needed access to our entire driveway, which meant moving three cars into the road. There is legal parking on one side of the road (only for a couple hours which meant we still may have been ticketed) and it is illegal to park on the other side. I parked the cars on the legal side so the guys could do their work, but then I was told that the roofers needed a large amount of clearance space to get the metal out of a van (they also had 5 vehicles taking up many street spots). With no spots left anywhere near my house, my only other option was to park one car on the other (illegal) side of the street, where technically there is no parking allowed anytime. A while later, I return to my vehicle to find a note (which was left probably because witnesses were involved) that said “we hit your illegally parked car while backing out of our driveway, call us”.

So now I’m wondering what the situation is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (though also curious about laws in other North American cities) regarding who is at fault in this scenario.

Here is what I found on the official Ontario e-laws site:

Rules for Other Circumstances

17. (1) If automobile “A” is parked when it is struck by automobile “B”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 668, s. 17 (1).

(2) If automobile “A” is illegally parked, stopped or standing when it is struck by automobile “B” and if the incident occurs outside a city, town or village, the driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for the incident. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 668, s. 17 (2). [I live in the city btw]


**19. The driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for an incident that occurs,

(a) when automobile “A” is backing up;**

So my interpretation is that according to the law, I am clearly not at fault. But I am not a lawyer (yet…) and could always be misinterpreting what I read. I know you probably aren’t lawyers either (so I’ll assume you’re not unless otherwise stated no need for disclaimers) but I’d love to know what you think the facts of the legal situation are.

Also, here is a pic, can you think of any logical reason why this individual would have been likely to hit my car? And, for anyone curious, here is the damage

Not in your area but:
There was a large truck illegally parked in a red zone so that it was utterly impossible to see oncoming traffic on the main road. I pulled out slowly to look around it and sure enough got my front end clipped. I found out that in California, by law a parked car is never responsible for an accident even if it is parked illegally.

I do feel bad about my illegal parking having resulted in making someone’s life slightly more complicated but I found another general cite supporting my point of view:

Who is at fault when a parked car is hit while in a no parking zone?
In: Auto Accidents and Insurance Claims


If the driver had hit a pedestrian or a car that was sitting, waiting for a stoplight, who would be at fault? The driver is responsible for whatever he hits. While the parked car will get a parking ticket, that is not a “moving violation”, and cannot be considered the cause of a collision. Drivers are responsible for avoiding ALL obstacles, even illegally parked cars.

Ultimately the operator of a moving vehicle has the greater duty to avoid the accident. Yeah, you shouldn’t have parked there, but that doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to ram your car. He should have identified an unsafe situation and avoided it (proceed with caution, turn around and take a different route, hell–even call you out to move your car to a safe, legal location, etc).

If someone had been seriously injured and the case went to trial then all bets are off. Juries are as capricious as the sea.

I’ve edited the thread title to indicate that you are seeking an answer based on Canadian law.

General Questions Moderator

I suspect that the Ontario Highway Traffic Act provision for illegally parked cars being at fault is to account for vehicles that are hazardous obstructions, which is probably deemed to be only likely outside of built-up areas where the speed limit is higher.

However, I can tell you from personal experience that just because your car is illegally parked, the other driver does not escape fault. (Mine was parked on Bloor Street, and five minutes after the “No Parking” period started, was hit by a guy coming out of a parking lot driveway way – he was given a moving violation and deemed at fault, and I was given a parking ticket.)