Parking Lot Accidents
It’s easy to get distracted in a parking lot when you’re gunning for a coveted spot while navigating pedestrians, other drivers, or shopping carts in your path. Add the stress of errands, noisy passengers or cell phones, and parking lot accidents can and will occur. In fact, it’s reported that up to 20 percent of all car accidents happen in parking lots!
While you may not think that parking lot accidents can be serious, they have been known to cause extensive injuries. The speed at which someone is driving doesn’t always correlate with how hard one can get hit. When pedestrians are involved, they can certainly become much more deadly. If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should contact an experienced parking lot accident attorney immediately to explore your options.
While accidents in parking lots don’t differ much from your standard car accident, there are some important differences. If you’re looking for guidance on how to move forward with a claim after a parking lot accident, you should seriously consider how an attorney can help.
Most parking lots are private property, and whether and how they’re maintained will weigh heavily on who you can sue. While you have a legal duty to drive safely, private property owners must also maintain their parking lots and ensure their safety.
Bear in mind that, like car accidents, if you hit and run in a parking lot, you will be charged with a hit-and-run traffic violation and be subject to additional fines. That said, it is important to remain on the scene and exchange critical information with the other driver after an accident. At a minimum, you should obtain their name, driver’s license number, phone number and address, and insurance information. You should also contact law enforcement to assess the damage and file a report at the scene. If you’re injured, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Because parking lots are private property, be prepared for the property owner to get involved. They may try to prevent you from calling the police to the scene, so you will have to be responsible for gathering as much evidence on the scene as possible. Photos of the accident, witness statements, and contact information for each of the drivers involved will be important evidence for your parking lot accident lawyer.
If the parking lot owner allowed unsafe conditions to persist on the property, they may be responsible for the accident. While the lot’s owner may likely share fault with one of the drivers involved, you may have a case against the property owner as well.
Determining fault in a car accident is rarely straightforward, and that’s true of parking lot accidents, as well. It can even be more complex in some cases, where both parties share a bit of fault. That’s why it’s crucial to have a parking lot accident attorney on your side; your lawyer will argue that you did not have any fault in the accident and are therefore entitled to the full extent of damages.
Some general rules of thumb will govern parking lot accidents. For example, drivers who rear-end another will generally be considered at fault for an accident. Left turns are also tricky in parking lots. Generally speaking, drivers who make left turns into parking spaces and hit other drivers will be considered at fault. Drivers who hit a car as they’re backing out will also be considered automatically at fault.
There are numerous examples of incidents that occur in parking lots, and determining who is at fault isn't always easy. Drivers will always try and blame the other driver to get out of compensating the injured driver for their damages and injuries - that’s why it's important to have experienced counsel on your side.
If you find yourself in a parking lot accident, you may be wondering what to do next. While it’s important to call law enforcement, care for your injuries, and gather evidence, it’s equally as important to speak with a parking lot accident attorney who can advise you on the best approach going forward. From helping you deal with the driver and their insurance company to negotiating or litigating a claim, you should work with an attorney who has significant experience handling car accidents in parking lots. Contact our office today to learn more.
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