It’s not news to you that parking lots are places where pedestrians, shopping carts, and all sorts of vehicles are moving in every direction. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to either find the perfect parking spot or leave it. However, drivers may be distracted by screaming babies in strollers, stressful people running errands, noisy children, and others who seem to be glued to their cell phones. The Pendergrass Law – car accident lawyers want you to know that parking lot accidents tend to happen at low speeds. This does not mean that there is no damage to the cars or that there are no injuries, particularly since pedestrians might be involved.
Parking Lots Are Private Property
Although parking lot accidents are not drastically different from accidents that occur on the road, one of the most salient differences, besides the slow speed, is that parking lots are private property. Yet, even though they might not have the traffic signs you see on the road, drivers are still expected to drive carefully and pay attention to other vehicles and people around them. To answer any concerns regarding a parking lot accident, it is best to consult with an accident attorney to discuss your legal rights and the compensation to which you might be entitled.
Another important difference when accidents happen in parking lots is that police officers may not be too inclined to issue a police report. You may be lucky enough to have law enforcement show up at the scene and issue any type of report. Otherwise, you may find a roving security vehicle and ask them to give you a copy of their internal report to provide to your insurance carrier.
It may also be up to you to gather any evidence to help prove who was at fault. Take pictures of both cars, their location, and their damage. If there are any witnesses, get their testimonies and personal information. This may come in handy should you need to contact them in the future. As soon as possible, get a full medical checkup since some internal injuries may not be immediately obvious. When you get home, make notes about the accident and write down everything that you remember, including the location, the weather, and anything else that may have contributed to the crash. Memories tend to fade, and you want to preserve as much information as possible.
The Property Owner May Be Involved
Depending on the type and size of the parking structure where the accident took place, the parking lot owner may be a business, and their offices may be adjacent to the lot. Parking lot owners know that they must design and maintain parking lots that are reasonably safe. Parking spaces must be clearly marked, and traffic lanes, crosswalks for pedestrians, signs marking the speed limit, and stop signs, must be easy to see. There should also be sufficient illumination, particularly if the lot is also in operation at night.
If you believe that the parking lot’s safety conditions caused or contributed to the collision, you may be able to file a claim against the parking lot owner. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may file a claim against the parking lot owner, the other driver, or both. It all depends on whether the fault was shared or was entirely due to one or the other.
Pedestrian Accidents in Parking Lots
The presence of pedestrians in parking lots means that the chances of one being involved in an accident are fairly high. Even though accidents may take place at low speeds, the size and weight of a vehicle mean that the pedestrian is always at a much greater risk of sustaining injuries.
In general, accidents in parking lots involving pedestrians tend to be the driver’s fault. Drivers in parking lots know there are always people around and they must exercise caution and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
However, pedestrians may be at fault if the driver can prove that they were walking distractedly instead of paying attention to the moving cars around them.
Knowing What to Do in A Parking Lot Accident
If you find yourself involved in a parking lot accident, take the same steps as if it was any other accident. If there are injuries, call for an ambulance. Exchange insurance information with the other driver, notify the property owner of the accident. Talk to a car accident attorney regarding your legal rights to receive compensation for your injuries and losses.