Parking lot accidents

Parking Lot Accidents

In parking lot accidents, there is good news and bad news. The good news is most drivers go slowly in parking lots, so damages and injuries usually aren’t severe. But the bad news is cars are going in many directions, and you may not know who has the right of way. 

So, determining fault in a parking lot accident can be dicey. In this post, we’ll talk about types of parking lot accidents. You will also learn what to do if you’re hit in a parking lot and how to determine liability.

Common Types Of Parking Lot Accidents

Some of the most common parking lot accidents include: 

  • Two cars back into each other when leaving parking spaces. In these crashes, both drivers are backing from different spaces opposite each other. They may not be watching for other cars or may have missed the other driver if they were in a blind spot. As both drivers were moving and neither had the right of way, both could be at fault. 
  • Driver backs into an oncoming car. In other parking lot accidents, the driver may back out from the parking spot. It’s not uncommon to strike a vehicle driving in the through lane. The driver leaving the lot must yield right of way, so that driver is often at fault in this case. 
  • Driver moves into oncoming traffic. The driver moves from the parking spot into moving traffic. The driver leaving the parking space needs to yield, so they may be at fault. But if the driver in traffic was driving too fast or distracted, both drivers may share liability. 
  • Two cars going to the same parking space collide. Two drivers going for the same spot may try to park simultaneously. Each driver could be liable for this accident. But the driver making a left turn at the time of the collision may be more liable. 

Right-Of-Way In Parking Lots

In a shopping center parking lot, there are usually several lanes with vehicles parked on both sides. There also are through lanes around the perimeter of the lot where cars drive into the parking lanes. 

Generally, you have the right of way if you’re driving in the through lane. Drivers going from a parking lane to the through lane need to give right of way. So perhaps the driver enters a through lane as he tries to exit the parking lane. Then he hits a car in the through lane – the first driver is usually liable for the accident. 

But there’s an exception. If the driver of the car in the through lane doesn’t obey a yield or stop sign, that driver may be at fault. 

Going Into And Out Of Parking Slots

Not all parking lot accidents happen in the through lanes. Many crashes happen when two cars are backing out of parking spaces on the other side of the same parking lane. In this situation, fault can be tricky to figure out. Under negligence rules, both drivers are responsible for ensuring that it’s safe to back out into the lane before making a move. 

If two cars are backing up opposite each other, both need to watch the other car. They should wait before exiting the parking spot. If that driver fails to do that and hits the other car, he’s probably at fault for the incident. 

However, it may be unclear which car started to back out first. If there’s a crash in the middle of the line, determining fault is difficult. These types of accidents are among the most common. So don’t assume you’re to blame only because you backed into another car when exiting your parking spot. 

How Car Insurance Companies Determine Parking Lot Accident Liability

Auto insurance companies review all evidence involving the accident to determine liability. If there is video footage of the parking lot, the insurer may review it. The auto insurance company may also review each driver’s testimony, pictures of the accident, and witness statements. If a police report is available, that also is valuable to determine fault. 

But remember that auto insurance adjusters always try to minimize their client’s responsibility for the accident to reduce their payout. The claims adjuster will try to view the evidence in a way that favors them. So, your insurance company or car accident attorney must tell your side of the story. 

Parking Lot Accident Settlements

Parking lot accidents are often minor. But sometimes injuries and damages can be severe. Below are a few recent settlements from across the US. Talk to an attorney today to see if you have a strong case. 

  • $100,000 Parking Lot Accident Settlement. A woman left the parking lot through the exit when hit head-on. She had several disc herniations and sued the other driver for negligence. The plaintiff accepted liability but said the diagnosis of injuries came a year after the accident. Case settled for $100,000. 
  • $148,000 Parking Lot Accident Verdict: A man stopped in a Florida parking lot when hit from behind. A week after the accident, she went to her doctor with back and neck pain. The woman had strains and sprains in the back and neck. Also, she had spinal fluid leaking and nerve irritation. The defendant tried to argue that her injuries were not related to the accident, but the jury saw it otherwise. 
  • $450,000 Parking Lot Accident Settlement: A woman tripped on a pothole in a parking lot. A few days later, she had lower back pain, and the doctor said she had a disc herniation from the fall. She needed a microdiscectomy and physical therapy. The woman sued the property management company and won a $450,000 settlement. 

How To Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot crashes happen often, but you can avoid many of them if you follow the tips below: 

Slow Down In Parking Lots

Parking lots involve slow-moving traffic for the most part. But, there are many hazards and obstructions. Sometimes other drivers will speed across empty parking lanes, ignore yield signs and lane markings. 

You can avoid many problems by driving slowly, obeying the rules, and stopping when a parked vehicle obstructs your vision.

Watch For Pedestrians

The National Safety Council reports that 10% of pedestrian deaths happen in backup incidents. While pedestrians may be watching for cars, it’s your job to look for them, too. 

Key an eye out for pedestrians that may dart in front of your car. Also, stop at all crosswalks in parking lots. When you’re driving into an area with many pedestrians, take your foot off the gas and hover over the brake. Assume pedestrians will appear even if you don’t see any. 

If you’re in an area with a lot of shopping, note that pedestrians carrying packages may have children with them. So, watch for children who may sprint ahead of their parents. 

Don’t Shop At Busy Times

The busiest times at grocery stores are on Saturday and Sunday. If you want to avoid a lot of traffic, try shopping during the day on Wednesday and Thursday. You can have a lower-stress shopping experience, and the parking lot won’t have as many cars. 

Park Further Away

It’s hard to avoid dents and scratches in your car’s finish in parking lots. You may be courteous when you park, but many others aren’t. Also, some may not care about their vehicle, so they don’t think twice about damaging yours. 

You can avoid many of these problems by parking far away from other cars. This will make you walk further, but your vehicle is safer, and it’s excellent exercise. 

Set Mirrors Correctly 

Many drivers don’t set their side mirrors far enough out. Doing so gives you as much view as possible when you’re backing out of a parking space. 

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.