Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lots are a common place for car accidents. According to statistics, there are 50,000 car crashes in parking lots every year. The accidents in parking lots might not be high speed, but they can be dangerous, especially for pedestrians. If you have suffered vehicle damage or personal injury in a parking lot accident, you might be entitled to compensation. Please contact us at Mountain States Injury Law and continue reading to learn more.
Why do Parking Lot Accidents Happen?
A parking lot accident can occur due to many reasons. For instance, a driver might be distracted when exiting or entering the parking lot, or they try to avoid another obstacle and accidentally hit another vehicle. Slippery road conditions or cramped parking spaces can also lead to parking lot accidents.
It is important to know that traffic laws, such as hit-and-run violations, are not only limited to roads and highways but also apply to parking lots. If a driver hits your vehicle and absconds without providing contact information, they can be found guilty of hit-and-run. If you get involved in a hit-and-run parking lot accident, it is best to call the police so they can file a report or contact your insurance company.
Another common parking lot accident is a “fender bender”, which is a term used for minor accidents. Even though the damage might be lower, you still need to follow the general procedures of a car accident.
Many parking lots are private property, which implies that the local police may not be able to investigate the car accident or file a report. However, the owner of the parking lot or building can get involved in the case. Parking lot owners are legally required to maintain a safe parking lot, so if the accident results from the parking lot’s poor safety conditions, you may be entitled to sue the property owner.
Establishing Liability in Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lot accidents can be complex in terms of establishing liability. These accidents are treated similarly to any other road accidents. If the accident occurred due to shared fault, it is likely that you can only obtain a portion of the compensation.
When the insurance companies get involved, they might investigate the accident to establish liability. In cases where one driver is found guilty of violating traffic laws, the insurance company of that driver might be liable to pay for the damages.
There are several rules for driving within the parking lot, and any driver that does not adhere to these rules can be held accountable. Following are some of the ways to establish liability in parking lot accidents:
- If a driver hits your vehicle from behind then it is easier to establish the fault of the driver that hit you from the rear.
- If the driver hits your vehicle by making a left turn when you are driving in a straight line, they can be at fault for causing the accident.
- Any driver who is reckless in reversing their vehicle out of the parking lot can be at fault, as any driver who is backing out of the parking space must yield to any vehicle driving behind in a straight lane.
- Any motorists backing out of opposing parking spaces at the same time share the liability of a collision.
- Unless your vehicle is not parked properly, the driver who collides with your vehicle while it is parked is most likely at fault.
- If the accident happens due to a loose shopping cart in the parking lot, then the store owner can be held accountable.
What are Common Parking Lot Conditions that Result in Accidents?
The following are the most common conditions that can result in parking lot accidents.
While driving at high speeds on the road is dangerous, it can be even more dangerous in parking lots. There is a chance that a pedestrian could be seriously injured if hit by a speeding vehicle.
Two Reversing Vehicles Collide
Sometimes, two motorists who are reversing simultaneously in opposing lanes can collide, unable to see the other vehicle. There is no right of way when two drivers are reversing their vehicles at the same time.
Design of Parking Lot
Poor parking lot design is a common cause of parking lot accidents. Cramped spaces and sharp or blind corners can increase the risk of accidents in a parking lot.
If two vehicles try to park in the same space, they can collide while doing so. In that case, the right of way lies with the driver turning right. If one of the vehicles was closer to the parking space, they had the right of way in the situation.
Slippery pavement conditions, especially in regions with snowfall, are another common reason for parking lot car accidents.
If you are driving on a walkway or crosswalk occupied by pedestrians, you are required by law to give them the right of way.
What To Do If You Are Involved in a Parking Lot Car Accident?
If you get involved in a parking lot accident, your main priority should be getting any medical treatment you or your passengers need. You can then get a police report of the accident and ensure that you document the damage done to your vehicle by taking pictures and videos of the state of your vehicle and the location where the accident occurred, even if the vehicle was hit in an unattended (parked) state. Documenting evidence will benefit your claim with the insurance company and in court.
Talk to any witnesses that are present at the scene and ask them for their contact information. The witnesses’ testimony can help you prove that the other driver is at fault and liable to pay for your damages. You can contact your insurance company after the accident to file a claim.
Hiring a car accident attorney will help maximize your chances of getting full and fair compensation for your damages. Whether it was a minor or major accident, an attorney can help you negotiate your third-party claim with the insurance company and guide you on whether or not you should take the case to court. Contact us at Mountain States Injury Law to learn more.