Who is at fault for hitting a garbage bin; driver or homeowner?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Nov 4, 2014

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Insurance Question from Mesa, AZ

Asked on 11/04/2014

Who is at fault for hitting a garbage bin; driver or homeowner? While driving, my passenger-side mirror clipped a wheeled garbage bin that was placed on the sidewalk. I believe the bin was too close to the road. I did not hit the curb. The tip of my mirror hit the protruding top of the bin. The force of the impact did not move the bin. My side mirror cracked and has to be replaced.

Answer given on November 10, 2014

If you are driving and strike a stationary item, even if it is in the road, you will most likely be held liable for the damage to your car. This is similar to striking a car door. If someone opens the door into traffic, then the person who opened the door is responsible. However, if the door is already open, and someone drives down the road and strikes it, then the driver is at fault.The garbage can in your instance could have been blown into the street by winds and the owner would not have known it. Depending upon the cost of the mirror, you may want to pay for the repairs yourself, since you probably have a deductible (this would be the collision deductible) and the cost of the mirror may not be worth filing a claim.

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