Another question for a LEO

Valpo Hawkeye

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My wife and I went to the local park which includes a 3/4 mile track around the perimeter, a basketball half-court and 4 softball fields. Our plans was for me to run 6 miles while my wife walked 5. I knew I would be done considerably sooner than my wife, so I brought my basketball and BB shoes.

I get to the court and there is a minivan parked on the court. It is not overflow parking and there was more parking a bit farther out. So I just played on the court, knowing that I would likely hit their car with the ball several times, which I did. I really wasn't too worried about it as it was a very inconsiderate thing to do.

What would have been the consequences if I would have broken out a window or dented a panel? Or, what if they had come over and got in my face? (You can't carry any EDC gear in running clothes!) My intended response would have been, "what if I had parked on the softball field and you lined one through my windshield... Would that have been any different?
 

9volt

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I'd like to hear the outcome of this one. I'm going to guess even though they are morons for parking there you would be liable.
 

cslinger

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Perfect example of two wrongs don't make a right.

Call and have the idiot towed legally, possibly damaging his vehicle would likely result in you having to pay for it and although the owner certainly seemed to have no right to park there, should they have come back and got in your face and you escalated it further you would likely end up shouldering quite a bit of the fault.

It is never a good idea to escalate a situation that does not need to be escalated IMO.


Chris
 

Valpo Hawkeye

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Chris, I see your point. However, I'm looking at this strictly from a "would I be liable" situation. I go back to the question of would it be any different than if someone parked their car on the softball diamond? Additionally, isn't there a certain amount of risk any time you park at a park? Foul balls and whatnot...
 

Greta

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Yes, you would be liable. And depending on the extent of the damage, you could be charged with criminal damage. The better way to have approache the situation would have been to locate the people and politely ask them to move their vehicle. And if they refused, do as cslinger suggested... call the police and have it towed as being illegally parked. Accident is no excuse in a case like this... and wouldn't be in the case of a car parked on a softball diamond either. Now... if parked legally in a designated parking place and hit with a foul ball... well... that's what people have insurance for... :)

Unfortunately, stupid still ain't illegal... :ironic:
 
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Valpo Hawkeye

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The better way to have approache the situation would have been to locate the people and politely ask them to move their vehicle.

With four softball games going and countless people running/walking on the track I did not consider that to be an option. My question is this, though, if a foul ball that hits a legally parked car is 'what insurance is for', are you saying that if my basketball hit and damaged a legally parked car a few spaces over from the court, that at that point I'm not liable, but because it's in the court that I am? :huh:
 

_Shawn_

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If property is damaged the person damaging the property would likely be responsible for intentional or unintentional damage.

Before saying more, it’s my opinion that the inconsiderate (idiot) owner should have his car towed and impounded. I'm also pretty sure it would teach him/her something about parking in the wrong place with no risk to you. :thumbsup:

From the wordings of your posts it sounds like you were reckless and looking for trouble. You never know what the owner of the car will have in their EDC gear or how he/she will react to reckless behavior. Two inconsiderate people can lead to bad situation.

I look forward to learning that my perception is wrong. If my interpretation that you were looking for trouble is correct. I hope that your EDC gear does not include a weapon of any type.


When reckless or looking for trouble, watch out for the Darwin effect. :duck:
 

Greta

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With four softball games going and countless people running/walking on the track I did not consider that to be an option.

But calling the police was... :)

My question is this, though, if a foul ball that hits a legally parked car is 'what insurance is for', are you saying that if my basketball hit and damaged a legally parked car a few spaces over from the court, that at that point I'm not liable, but because it's in the court that I am? :huh:

Basically, yes. When a person is parked legally in a designated parking area, they have a reasonable expectation that their vehicle is safe and that it would truly take an accident for damage to be done. Now, they probably could file charges against the person who hit the foul ball and probably could get that person's insurance company to pay for damages but again, there is the reasonable expectation thing.

However, when parked illegally, there is no expectation of safety. And on YOUR part, there is no reasonable expectation of anything happening being an accident... more like it is inevitable under the circumstances. As cslinger said, two wrongs don't make a right. Your choice to play knowing full well that an "accident" is pretty much unavoidable makes your actions deliberate... whereas the guy who hit the foul ball didn't deliberately aim for that car parked way over there in the legal parking area... (at least one would hope not!).

Look at it this way.... if you see a car coming down the road and he has the green light and you have the red.... and you know that if you pull out in front of him, you're going to get in an accident, do you still pull out in front of him? No. That would be a deliberate act and you would be held liable. However, if you have the green and he has the red and you pull out in front of him and have an accident, you have a reasonable expectation of safety and your act is not deliberate... but his was. See the difference?
 

Valpo Hawkeye

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See the difference?

Your illustration is in a different context. That occurs on public roads where vehicles are expected. Traffic laws govern what occurs there.

I often ride ride my bike to the basketball court and park it on the court. Technically it's a vehicle (by law) and not to brag, but it's worth as much as some people's car. When I park it on the court, I know there's a chance it's going to be hit with a ball. It's a frickin' basketball court... what would I expect? How is some lazy softball player's minivan any different?

What it comes down to, though, is while I respect your opinion, I'm really most interested in how things lie in the eye of the law. That's why I'm looking for an opinion from a LEO.
 

Valpo Hawkeye

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From the wordings of your posts it sounds like you were reckless and looking for trouble. You never know what the owner of the car will have in their EDC gear or how he/she will react to reckless behavior. Two inconsiderate people can lead to bad situation.

I look forward to learning that my perception is wrong. If my interpretation that you were looking for trouble is correct. I hope that your EDC gear does not include a weapon of any type.

I wouldn't say that I was looking for trouble. What I will say is that I was not in the mood to take my time to protect the property of someone who was too lazy to protect it themselves. Besides, it's a lose/lose for me if I have it towed. Instead of being the guy who hit their car with a ball, I'm the guy who ruined their softball game by having their car towed.
 

Greta

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What it comes down to, though, is while I respect your opinion, I'm really most interested in how things lie in the eye of the law. That's why I'm looking for an opinion from a LEO.


Ahem.... I *AM* giving you an opinion from a LEO... and it's not just an "opinion"... it's the law... :ironic:
 

Greta

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One additional point: How in the world can there be an expectation of safety when you park your car on a basketball court?


I never said there was.... I believe my post was "However, when parked illegally, there is no expectation of safety."
 

Valpo Hawkeye

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I never said there was.... I believe my post was "However, when parked illegally, there is no expectation of safety."

Okay, so from the viewpoint of the vehicle owner, shouldn't the situation be summarized as, "I'm parked where I shouldn't be, if something happens, I guess I'm effed."?
 

Greta

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Okay, so from the viewpoint of the vehicle owner, shouldn't the situation be summarized as, "I'm parked where I shouldn't be, if something happens, I guess I'm effed."?
Nope. 'Cuz like I said, stupid still ain't illegal. Your act of playing basketball knowing that an "accident" is not only likely but almost inevitable (think about my scenario with pulling out in front of another vehicle) is deliberately malicious. Now if you want to stand there and claim that you were just as stupid as the guy who parked his minivan on the court and didn't think anything would be harmed or damaged... well... good luck with that... :)
 

flashfan

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If liability is the issue, perhaps an attorney (which I am not) is the "best" person to respond, for methinks that while an LEO can perhaps attribute "fault" at a scene, if there is a dispute, the case would likely be decided in a court (even if it is "just" small claims)...and strange things sometimes happen in court. That said though, my opinion is that the OP would be liable for damage to the vehicle.

What I get out of the first post (intended or not), is that the OP almost seems to be inviting a confrontation. And unfortunately in today's world, a tragedy is very possible. Is proving you're "right" worth the possible consequences?

If a person is rude/stupid enough to park on a basketball court when other parking is available, said person is not likely to be "reasonable" when it comes to other matters. By the way, this assumes that other parking actually was available at the time the vehicle was parked on the court.
 

Robocop

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Case in point and this really happened.....A neighbor of mine has had problems with idiots blocking his driveway for several months. He has never phoned the police and always simply drives around the car. He has left notes for the owners with no results. He stated the house next door was full of younger kids (frat house) and they had parties all the time with many visitors parking everywhere.

He finally got tired of it and one night took his old work truck and simply rammed the vehicle. Damaged it pretty good and pushed it away from his driveway. Now the problem came when the owner of the smashed car called police. The neighbor told the truth and said he had many past problems with cars blocking his driveway. He said he had to go to the store and could not drive around so he hit the car intentionally. Now he would have been better off to say he did not see the car or even say that he had a medical emergency but a simple trip to the grocery store. Well needless to say he was liable and had to pay for the damage and was even arrested for criminal mischief.

If he had simply called police there is a law on file stating driveways must be kept clear. Any car blocking a drive (other than the owner) can be towed without notice or warning and it is very costly to get the car back. Bottom line is he let his temper get the better of him and while it must have been a great feeling to bash that little idiots car in the end it was the victim who paid the price.

Yes the van was blocking the court however my first question is do you really have some emergency that you have to play a game right that very moment....and does your need to play justify damaging a vehicle even if said vehicle is illegally parked. These are the type questions a criminal judge would ask you and yes they would ask why you did not notify police. Again was the game so important that you could not wait for police.

I had to learn a very valuable lesson right after I became an officer. When I first got hired on my head became so big I could not fit inside my patrol car. I thought I was a supercop 24/7 and had to enforce each and every law at all times of day and night. I was off duty and some idiot was flying through the parking lot of our local grocery store. Tires skreeching and smoke flying he was having a blast. I quickly ran towards the mans car once he stopped and began going through the routine....you know "out of the car"...."let me see your license"...."keep your hands in sight" type stuff. He looked at me like I was crazy and he got out of the car all right however he quickly wanted to continue his exploits and swung a fist right at my head. Well needless to say the fight was on and a citizen did what I should have done in the first place and called the police.

The sheriff arrived and did not recognize me as I had just started with the Dept. All he saw was me beating the brakes off some idiot and he drew his weapon on me. I complied and laid face down while he got things sorted out. To my suprise the idiot involved had a gun under his seat and several felony warrants. The deputy chewed my butt good and gave me some sound advice that I have followed ever since.

What if this guy had shot me in the face....or what if he started shooting and killed a child walking nearby. I was not in uniform however I began the confrontation so would I be liable? What if the deputy had shot and killed me? He would have to live with that forever and it would have been my fault because I chose to be a super hero. Sure I was trying to do the right thing however were there any other options at the time....you bet there were and I chose none of them. The situation were not an emergency as the guy had stopped. I could have called on duty units and followed the guy or even got a tag number. My mistake and after that I am much more cautious as to what I get involved in.

A little different from your situation however what if the owner arrived and began a confrontation? What if your wife witnessed this and tried to help and was hurt also. Would all this be worth a game of ball? This again is why a uniformed police should be called....you would have the last laugh and someone else would take the risk.

So to sum it up yes if the owner wished to do so they could press charges and you would be responsible for any damage. Yes they would also be in the wrong however after they pay their parking fee and towing fees they would be free to go. You would be drug through court and probably pay much more in the end plus there is that arrest charge as well on your record.
 
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