Parking lots are often challenging places in which to drive. Some are extremely large, such as the ones encircling stadiums, shopping centers, and hospitals. In expansive parking lots like these, just finding your way to the entrances and exits can be challenging. Parking garages are tall structures that contain several levels of parking spaces, and others are cramped, crowded, tiny areas where pulling out of a parking space without hitting something is quite an undertaking. The one trait that all parking areas have in common is that they are often used by drivers who are distracted, confused, or in a hurry, all of which can lead to a car accident.
When a car enters a parking lot, it is usually trying to find an open parking space or looking for someone walking to their car in order to claim their space. Most of these drivers are not paying attention to what is right in front of them. Some drivers are speeding because they are in a rush to get in or leave, which creates a dangerous situation for pedestrians and other drivers. Others are applying makeup, making phone calls, having a quick bite to eat, or adjusting their radio while they are also trying to pull into or out of a parking space.
At Local Accident Reports, we offer support and reliable legal advice for the victims of all types of car accidents nationwide. We are committed to helping our injured clients recover the most financial compensation possible for their injuries and other damages.
We offer a free initial case review, and our attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront and will only be charged if we win your case. Contact our law firm today to find out how we can help you after a parking lot accident.
Although the majority of parking lot accidents are low-impact, many are not. A lot of bigger parking lots have boundary roads where drivers traveling at high rates of speed can crash into shoppers or other vehicles as they enter and exit. Crosswalks, yield signs, and stop signs should be taken as seriously in a parking lot as they would on a roadway. If you are injured in a parking lot accident, you should handle it the same as you would any other car accident:
- Remain at the scene and notify local law enforcement. Make sure they draft a police accident report.
- Trade your contact details with the other people involved in the accident. Never apologize, admit fault, or discuss anything with the other people involved.
- Take video or photos of the damage to the cars, skid marks, and debris from the accident.
- Find out if there were any eyewitnesses to the accident
- Even if you think you are unharmed, you should seek immediate medical care. Once the doctor diagnoses you, you need to get in touch with a personal injury attorney.
The Most Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
The single most common cause of parking lot accidents is drivers who are not paying attention to their surroundings. Some of the most common parking lot accident scenarios include:
- Exiting a parking space without checking for pedestrians or other vehicles in the immediate area. Pedestrians and other drivers can suddenly appear from any direction in a parking lot. An abundance of caution should always be used when pulling out of a parking spot. In an accident that involves a vehicle reversing out of a parking space, it is almost always the reversing driver who is found liable.
- Turning in front of another vehicle. When a driver is trying to hurry to claim an open space, they can easily strike another vehicle in their haste. In many situations, that driver was also waiting for the same parking space.
- Being hit from behind after braking suddenly. If a car slams on its brakes in order to grab an empty parking space, it can cause an accident if the following driver is not paying attention and is unable to stop in time.
- Distracted pedestrians or young children can wander into the path of a driver who is scanning for an empty space or an exit sign instead of watching the roadway in front of them.
Premises Liability and Parking Lot Accidents
Since they are considered private property, establishing liability for an injury-causing accident in a parking lot or parking garage is essential. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the pedestrian, parking lot owner, or driver could potentially be at fault. If the parking lot owner is determined to be partially or wholly liable, then that case will come under premises liability. Some ways in which a parking lot owner could be found at fault would be if they failed to mark the flow of traffic in a narrow, one-way lane. Failing to maintain or even provide proper lighting, as well as failing to clearly mark crosswalks or place stop signs at blind or dangerous intersections, would also be the fault of the parking lot owner.
How to Stay Safe in Parking Lots
When you take into account that 1 in every 5 20% of all motor vehicle accidents takes place in a parking lot, it is a good idea to be as safe as possible when you are walking or driving through a parking garage or parking lot:
- Drive cautiously: Check repeatedly to ensure there are no pedestrians or other vehicles coming your way or stopping behind you.
- Utilize your vehicle’s safety features: Today’s technology is designed to help drivers be safe, which includes preventing backup accidents. Make sure you are familiar with the notification sounds that your car makes to let you know that there is something, or someone, behind you. If you hear it, don’t back up.
- Don’t park too close to other vehicles: If you are having difficulties getting your car to fit evenly inside a parking spot, the best thing to do is to find another one. Not only do cramped spaces significantly limit your field of vision when you are pulling out, but you also run the risk of opening your door and hitting the car next to you. If that happens, you will liable for property damage as well as the repairs to your own car.
Call Local Accident Reports Today
If you were recently injured in a parking lot accident, you should reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer to learn about your legal options. It is vital to act fast because there are deadlines imposed on filing claims for damages. Call Local Accident Reports at (888) 657-1460 to schedule your free consultation and find out what our experienced car accident attorneys recommend.