Car accidents which occur in parking lots are actually extremely common and come with a host of unique problems and complexities that need to be understood. If you have been involved in an accident which occurred in a store or other parking lot, hopefully the following information can be of assistance.
For most auto accidents that occur on a public road, determining who is at fault is much easier than in a parking lot accident. On a public road there are traffic controls, stop signs, and well understood rules of the road. Violating a rule of the road or ignoring a traffic signal will put one at fault for the car crash. In a parking lot, a determination of fault is not always as easy.
Why is it Tricky to Determine Liability in a Parking Lot?
- All parking lots are designed differently which can confuse unfamiliar drivers and make it difficult to follow the rules of the road;
- The presence of pedestrians and so many other parked cars can effect visibility and create a potential hazard;
- Lack of traffic controls (stop signs, red lights, etc) or clearly defined paths of travel can create confusion among drivers;
- Because parking lots are private property most police are unwilling to take formal reports. The lack of a formal police report can mean that some facts are missing and allows time for drivers to change their stories.
This is not to say that all parking lot accidents are difficult cases. For instance, a very common occurrence in parking lot accidents is a driver reversing out of a spot into a pedestrian or other car with the right of way. In these scenarios, the driver operating in reverse is almost always 100% at fault.
What Can You Do to Help Your Case?
These suggestions apply to almost all car crashes but are particularly helpful in a parking lot accident. If AND ONLY IF it is safe to do so and you are physically able to:
- Take pictures of the scene and the placement of all involved vehicles;
- Search for witnesses who may have seen the accident and take their name and number;
- Seek medical treatment if you have been injured, call for a rescue if necessary;
- Contact an experienced auto accident attorney right away! You and your attorney can investigate the possible existence of cameras or video recordings of the parking lot.
A Common Misconception About Parking Lot Accidents
Many people wrongly believe that accidents in parking lots are not that serious because they generally occur at relatively low speed. This is true for some, but not all parking lot accidents. Last year, I settled a case for a woman injured in the Warwick Mall Parking Lot for $125,000! She was thrown into the dashboard fracturing her wrist and causing permanent nerve damage. If you have been injured in a parking lot, whether minor or serious, it is always imperative to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
My office specializes in auto accident cases and I have handled hundreds of parking lot cases. If you have been injured in a parking lot accident contact our office right away for a free no pressure consultation.