Believe it or not, parking lot crashes are more common than you think. Tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garage structures annually, which result in injuries and in some cases, death.
Parking lots and garages contain a variety of hazards that can cause crashes, including:
Even careful drivers can cause car crashes when these types of conditions exist. However, distracted driving has been linked as the cause of majority parking lot accidents. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that around two-thirds of all motorists who enter parking lots do so while distracted. Distracted driving, while always dangerous, is especially risky in parking garages and lots because slower speeds tend to give pedestrians and drivers a false sense of security.
In an NSC public opinion poll, 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Respondents also said they would:
When determining who is liable for parking lot crashes, it is important to remember that the rules of the road still apply when navigating a parking lot. This means you should follow stop or yield signs and understand when another driver has the right-of-way. Drivers who clearly violate the rules of the road will likely be found liable.
If you are backing out of a space and strike another vehicle, whether that vehicle is moving or stationary, you will likely be the one found at fault.
If both you and the other driver were backing out of a space, no fault may be found. If you strike a vehicle that is legally parked, whether you are moving or open your door into it, you will probably be found at fault. If you do not make an effort to locate the owner of the car, you could be charged with a hit-and-run.
In the case of a pedestrian accident, you are more than likely to be found at fault unless the pedestrian was negligent in some way, such as stepping into the path of your car or ignoring safety measures.
As touched on above, in certain instances, the parking lot owner may be held liable for your injuries, too, as hazards cause crashes as well.
Follow normal post-accident protocol: call the police, exchange insurance information, and take any necessary photos.
If you have been involved in a car crash in a parking lot, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. For a free consultation with our team at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., contact us today. We will review the circumstances of your case and work with your insurance company to determine who is responsible for damages.