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How to Deal with Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot accidents

Parking Lot Accident

Parking lot accidents are fairly common and luckily, usually minor. Because most drivers move slowly through parking lots, damage and injuries caused by an accident are rarely severe. But one bad thing about parking lot accidents is that it isn’t always clear who was at fault.

Since parking lot accidents can happen to anyone, it is important to understand some of the basics regarding safety and liability.

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Common Types Of Parking Lot Accidents

There are a variety of parking lot accidents that you may find yourself involved in. A few of those situations include:

  • A driver backs out of their parking spot, hitting a passing vehicle. It is always wise to back out of a spot slowly and with caution because the driver leaving the lot is typically found to be at fault. When backing out of a parking spot, always yield to cars passing behind you.
  • Two vehicles are both backing out of their respective parking spots and collide. It is likely that the drivers were not paying attention or the other vehicle was in a blindspot. Fault may be shared in this circumstance.
  • Two vehicles try to claim the same parking spot and crash together. Both drivers could hold liability for this accident, though the driver who turned left into the spot may hold more responsibility.

Right-Of-Way In Parking Lots

Most parking lots include several aisles or lanes, with vehicles parked on either side. Through lanes surround the lot, where cars can enter and exit. Typically, if you are driving in the through lane, you will have right of way. When moving from the parking lane into the through lane, you must yield to drivers in the lane before you turn or drive across. If a driver strikes another car while turning into the through lane, they are usually at fault.

Always obey yield, stop, and passenger crossing signs.

Going Into And Out Of Parking Spots

When you are leaving a parking space, give right of way to drivers moving up and down the aisles. If you are attempting to enter a parking spot and another driver coming from the opposite direction has also indicated that they intend to claim the spot, the person who must turn left should yield.

It can be hard to determine liability in accidents that occur when two cars leave their parking spots. Fault isn’t always clear in these cases and oftentimes, both drivers end up responsible. If a driver pulls out of a spot too fast or recklessly, they will be found more or completely liable. If it is clear that one driver pulled out first and the second driver backed out without paying attention, the driver who moved second will hold liability. The matter of who started driving first is not always clear if the accident happens in the middle of the aisle.

When you are driving in a parking lot, it is important to always pay attention and drive with caution. This is key to avoiding a parking lot accident.

How Car Insurance Companies Determine Parking Lot Accident Liability

As with any car accident, insurance companies will review all of the evidence available to them to establish liability. It is often ideal to have security footage to review, as it can clear up a lot of the details. Also important are the drivers’ and witnesses statements of the incident. Pictures of the vehicles and the area where the accident took place can also be beneficial. If a police report was filed, it may help determine liability as well.

Keep in mind that many insurance company adjusters will try to minimize their clients responsibility if it means a smaller payout to you. The adjuster may twist the evidence to favor their client. Be confident in your explanation of the accident and do not allow the insurance company to place any more liability than is accurate on you. A car accident attorney can help you get the most compensation from your claim.

Parking Lot Accident Settlements

In most cases, parking lot accidents are minor with very little damages. However, there are always exceptions and special cases. Here are a few examples of parking lot accidents that were more severe than normal.

  • $150,000 Settlement – A woman was traveling in the through lane on her way to exit the lot. Another driver drove into the lot, speeding, and struck her head on. Our driver had a serious back injury. The at fault driver was found completely liable after a lawsuit trial.
  • $75,000 Settlement – A man was stopped at a stop sign in a parking lot when he was struck from behind. He suffered whiplash and a concussion. Persistent headaches affected his daily life for weeks after the crash. After negotiations, he received a payout that covered his medical bills and pain and suffering damages.
  • $300,000 Settlement – A man was walking through a parking lot, using crosswalks, when a delivery truck struck him. The driver had been distracted and did not see the man walking in front of him. The victim sued the driver and the company he worked for, resulting in a large settlement.
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How To Avoid a Parking Lot Accident

Accidents in parking lots happen, but there are things that you can do to avoid them.

Slow Down In Parking Lots

When traveling through a parking lot, it always best to drive slowly and cautiously. But even the safest drivers occasionally face hazards. These may come in the form of poorly maintained lots, icy spots, drivers moving too fast or without courtesy to others. In fact, a National Safety Council poll found that around 66% of drivers admit to using their cell phone while driving through parking lots.

Do your part in keeping yourself and others safe by slowing down, paying attention, and obeying all traffic signs.

Watch For Pedestrians

Parking lots are full of pedestrians for obvious reasons. And you can’t always rely on other people to pay attention, whether you are the pedestrian or the driver. It is possible to back into a person walking behind your vehicle if you are not watching closely. It is also possible that someone could run in front of your moving car. While pedestrians should be watching out for cars, you cannot assume that everyone is aware of their surroundings.

Always stop at crosswalks. Drive under the assumption that someone could walk in front of or behind your car at any time. Be especially aware of any children, who may be harder to see.

Don’t Shop At Busy Times

While it is not always possible, one way to avoid traffic and potential accidents is to go out during less busy times. Stores tend to be more busy in the early evening and on weekends. If you want to avoid crowds both in the stores and in the parking lot, choose your shopping times wisely.

Park Further Away

You may be concerned about someone hitting your car while you’re not driving this. Perhaps by backing into it or just scratching up your paint with their car door. You can avoid this a little better by parking further back or out in the lot. Less cars surrounding you typically means less chances for damage. You will have to walk farther but it comes down to a personal choice.

Set Mirrors Correctly

Any time you are driving, you should ensure that your mirrors are properly placed to give you adequate view. This can be especially important in a parking lot, where there are so many moving people and vehicles. Properly placed mirrors help you see as much of your surroundings as possible.

Get Legal Help For Your Parking Lot Accident Case

If you’re hit by a car in a parking lot, make sure you call the police and get medical attention if you’re injured.

Lawsuit Info Center can help you find an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. You may be due compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. Use our site to find a parking lot accident lawyer in your region today.

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