The silver lining behind parking lot car accidents is that since speed limits are much lower than other roadways, these accidents rarely ever involve serious injury. However, determining who is at fault for the accident can sometimes be very complicated. Since parking lots are filled with cars driving in every direction, figuring out who has the right away in any given situation is often tricky. Below we’ll discuss how to determine liability in parking lot car accidents.
Through Lanes and Parking Lots
In any given office building or shopping center parking lot you often have numerous lanes with parked cars on either side. You usually also have a number of through lanes scattered around the perimeter, from which cars enter the lot.
In general, vehicles moving in the through lanes hold the right of way. This means that vehicles approaching those lanes from the parking lot must yield to the moving vehicles. So, for instance, if Driver A pulls out of a parking lot and collides with Driver B moving in the through lane, Driver A is most likely at fault for the accident. However, one exception to this rule is when drivers in a through lane must obey “STOP” or “YIELD” signs that give vehicles exiting a parking lot the right of way.
Right of Way for Parking Spots
One of the most common parking lot car accident is when two vehicles collide after backing out of a parking spot. In such situations, determining who is at fault is often tricky. Since both drivers have the legal right to back out of a parking space when it’s reasonably safe, who is liable in these situations?
When a vehicle begins to back out of a parking space, the vehicle in the opposite space must wait before backing out as well. The second vehicle should observe that the first vehicle has finished backing out and has pulled away before proceeding to back up. If the second vehicle fails to yield for the first vehicle, the driver in the second vehicle will most likely be deemed at fault.
However, in situations where it is unclear which vehicle started backing up first, determining liability is much more difficult. These types of situations are much more common, and you should never just assume you’re at fault if you back into another vehicle.
When is a Parking Lot Owner Liable?
In certain situations, premises liability law makes owners of premises (such as parking lots) responsible for certain types of injuries sustained on property. Because of this, an owner of a parking lot may be liable for certain car accidents that happen on their premises. For instance, an owner could be liable if their parking lot is poorly designed in such a way that creates a high risk of accidents. In addition, an owner may be liable for a number of hazardous conditions within a parking lot, including standing water, uneven pavement, and more.
Does Your Insurance Cover Parking Lot Car Accidents?
In most cases, your car insurance policy should cover parking lot car accidents so long as you have the appropriate coverage. Your specific policy depends on a number of factors such as your vehicle type and the amount of insurance you actually purchase. Car insurers usually offer coverage packages that include collision, liability, personal injury and more.
Should You Get a Lawyer?
While many parking lot car accidents usually involve minor damage and injuries, you may not feel the need to contact a lawyer. However, in accidents that involve more serious damages, consulting with an experienced car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you are owed. Contact the seasoned legal team at Etengoff Pak Law Group to find out how we can help you.