At first glance, a parking lot may seem like an unlikely place for a car accident that can produce serious injuries or fatalities. But parking lot accidents can present dangerous situations for both pedestrians and drivers. It is estimated that one in five car accidents takes place in a parking lot. This is a staggering statistic. While you may think that the low speed that people normally travel in a parking lot prevents parking lot accidents from being serious, think again. Many parking lot accidents involve pedestrians who are hit by another car. These types of accidents can result in serious injuries or even death. Even two cars hitting one another in a parking lot can produce serious injuries, especially when another driver is speeding through a parking lot.
Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
A parking lot accident can have a number of different causes. One common cause is distracted driving. Many drivers feel safe traveling through a parking lot at a slow speed, which may cause them to engage in risky behavior, such as texting. Whether another vehicle is backing up or a pedestrian is crossing in front of a distracted driver, conditions in a parking lot can change quickly. If a driver’s eyes are glued to their cell phone, they may not have enough time to react.
Vehicles backing out of parking spaces are another common cause of parking lot accidents. Some drivers may not check their mirrors or blind spots while backing up, they may be distracted, or their vision may be obscured by other vehicles surrounding them. When backing a vehicle, it is important to always go slowly so that both you and other drivers and pedestrians have time to react.
Another cause of parking lot accidents is the lack of traffic rules. Parking lots can produce an every man for himself mentality with drivers jockeying for position for the best parking spots. Parking lots just do not have the same traffic rules that roadways do, and some people flat out ignore rules that do exist. For example, anybody who has ever driven in a parking lot has seen another driver driving the wrong way in a one way lane.
What Should You Do After a Parking Lot Accident?
It is always a good idea to call the police after a car accident. Parking lot accidents are no different. Even though a police officer may not issue any citations following a parking lot accident since it takes place on private property, a police report can serve a number of different functions. For one, it provides a record of the accident. Sometimes drivers trust each other, especially after a minor accident, and just exchange information. But later they find out that the other driver is disputing the accident even happened. A police report also helps provide a record of how the accident happened. The police officer may interview witnesses and make diagram the accident.
Whether police are called or not, you should always get the names and contact information for all witnesses. Witnesses can help you prove your case when the insurance company tries to deny your claim by saying you are at fault.
Last, take pictures. Photograph the damage to the vehicles, the position of the vehicles immediately after the accident, and the surrounding area. Photographs are important evidence in any accident case. They can help prove the amount of damage and who was at fault.
Who is Liable for a Parking Lot Accident?
Proving liability in a parking lot accident case can be tricky because parking lots do not have all the same rules that normal roadways do. It is also frequently difficult to find eyewitnesses following a parking lot collision as many witnesses simply do not stop to provide assistance or give their information. The lack of traffic rules and eyewitnesses can frequently lead to a he said-she said dispute. This is why it is so important for you to document the accident, photograph it, and gather as much information as you can.
In parking lot crashes that involve serious injuries or fatalities, the assistance of an accident investigation or reconstructionist may be necessary. These experts are expensive so they are normally only used in cases with large damages. In smaller cases, you may spend more money on an expert than the amount of damages that the accident itself caused.
The Atlanta personal injury attorneys at The Champion Firm, P.C. have experience representing clients in parking lot accidents. We have represented people who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a parking lot accident. Parking lot accidents can be difficult to prove. To make sure your rights are properly protected, you need a personal injury attorney on your side who can advocate for you. Call us today for a free consultation about your parking lot accident.