, Derry, New Hampshire

November 8, 2012

Moving car hits parked car; driver is to blame

About the Law Andrew Myers
Derry News

---- — One night it was extremely dark and I backed into a car. It was in a tow zone and there aren’t supposed to be any vehicles parked there.

I go to this place all the time so I did not expect there to be a vehicle there. Am I at fault if I hit a parked car that was in a tow zone?

Here’s your problem: You were moving and the parked car was not. The car you struck may have been illegally parked, in violation of ordinances, statutes and all the rest.

But, the negligence formula requires a look at conduct. You were in control of the vehicle that was moving. The other car was stopped like a rock.

Look at it like this: Although the other car’s driver left the vehicle in a bad place, you had the last clear chance to stop a collision. There is, in fact, a legal doctrine known as last clear chance which will not be your friend in that the parked car, although in the wrong place at the wrong time, did nothing in the moment before the crash to cause the damage.

Hopefully, you have insurance which can adjust the loss and everyone can back out of the situation and move on with their lives.

I am setting up a franchise business and at this point have put a lot of money into this.

I know a franchise means that I need to sell their product their way. But I think they are micromanaging too many details of setting up the building the security, the communications, the banking and other details beyond what I think they need to tell me.

I know this business and I think I can do well. but can I get around the micromanagement?

The franchiser, the owner of the idea, the trademarks and all the rest, pretty much has a license to tell the franchisee – that’s you, the one essentially paying for the right to sell their product or service under contract – how to go about the business.

Franchise agreements are usually cookie-cutter type of contracts. But, that is not to say there isn’t room for those in your position to negotiate. If you have not signed the contract yet, there is hope.

Have an attorney review the contract. The franchiser will claim this is a “standard contract.” But, contract law requires a meeting of the minds on both sides.

I’ve had individuals up against major “big guys” come to me with similar issues. Using a bit of common sense and bringing something to the table such as expertise, we have been able to knock out unreasonable intrusions into the devilish details.

So, the answer is yes, there is “wiggle room” to negotiate. Do it amicably and show that you have something to offer in exchange. Without legal representation, though, you will show them that you are not serious and will sign anything.


Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to