Drivers today are more distracted than they’ve ever been before, particularly with ever-present cell phones and the constant barrage of phone calls, text messages, and social media notifications. With our attention so divided, it’s not surprising that motor vehicle accidents are common, particularly in parking lots. While parking lot accidents are not usually as devastating as high-speed accidents on the road or highway, they can still cause personal injuries or damage to your vehicle – and sometimes, navigating the legal landscape surrounding these accidents can be intensely challenging and overwhelming.
Who Is At Fault In a Parking Lot Accident?
In the event of a minor accident where no one is hurt, and damage to vehicles is negligible, it may be tempting to just shrug your shoulders and forget it happened. While avoiding the hassle of lengthy phone calls with insurance companies may temporarily seem more convenient, it could ultimately prove unwise. Should you later decide to repair your vehicle, determining fault in a parking lot accident is an important factor in whether your car insurance will cover the damages – and this becomes even more essential when a personal injury occurs.
To ensure the best possible outcome, be careful what you say at the scene of the accident – don’t ever admit fault. Instead, let the insurance companies work everything out through their private investigations. If you’re involved in any sort of accident – even if no one was injured and the damages to the vehicles are insignificant – it is vital to let your insurance company know what happened as soon as possible, as this may work either for or against you when it comes to determining fault and ensuring coverage. To understand who is at fault, it helps to know who has the right of way in a typical parking lot.
Determining Right of Way In a Parking Lot Accident
The typical parking lot has multiple lanes with cars parked on both sides, along with thoroughfares around the perimeter of the lot that allow vehicles to enter and exit the lanes. In general, vehicles in the thoroughfares have the right of way, meaning drivers entering the thoroughfare from the lanes between parked cars are expected to yield to oncoming traffic. If a driver hits another vehicle while entering the thoroughfare from a lane, this driver will usually be considered responsible for the accident. However, if the parking lot has signs telling drivers to stop or yield, these signs take precedent.
What about drivers who are exiting a parking spot? It is generally accepted that drivers in parking spots must yield to the traffic in the lanes and thoroughfares. That means if you hit a car (or a bicycle, motorcycle, or pedestrian) while you were backing out of a parking spot, you are most likely responsible for the accident. There are, however, exceptions to this rule – and when two vehicles strike each other while they are both backing up at the same time, fault can be especially difficult to determine.
What Types of Injuries Occur In a Parking Lot Accident?
In most cases, parking lots are considered private property, meaning a police report usually will not be filed – but if the accident involves injuries or significant damages, the police should always be contacted immediately. The types of injuries typically seen in parking lot accidents include bruises, broken bones, head injuries, and organ damage. If the injuries you sustained in the parking lot accident were severe, getting medical attention right away is essential. This will help you recover from your injuries as well as work to your benefit during liability investigations that may determine the amount of compensation you deserve.
Legal Help For Parking Lot Accidents
If you were involved or injured in a parking lot accident, you may benefit from a consultation with an experienced attorney. The Cullotta Bravo Law Group has focused on personal injury cases for more than 30 years. We fight to help our clients get the settlements and verdicts that they deserve, and we keep them from making damaging mistakes that could have been avoided. There is no fee unless you receive compensation. In all cases, you will be dealing directly with a lawyer. Call us now at 630-898-7800 or visit www.cullottalaw.com so we can explain and guide you through the entire process.