Our days are getting busier and busier and the holidays are no exception. Between work, getting the kids to football practice, church, and the added stress of holiday shopping, the last thing you have time for is to be injured in an accident in parking lot while you are at the mall. However, the reality is that these types of car accidents happen all the time. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself in these situations.
Are accidents in parking lots covered by insurance?
Although there are many reasons your insurer could deny your claim, overall collisions in parking lots and parking garage accidents are not excluded from auto insurance coverage. These claims can present unique problems, especially accidents involving a hit and run in parking lot, but this should not stop you from reporting the accident to your insurer.
How can I avoid parking lot accidents?
In most cases, it is easier and safer to find a parking spot farther away from the entrance to a building. There are usually fewer pedestrians and less vehicle traffic.
Accidents in parking lots are more likely to occur when reversing. If possible, limit the distance you back up in a parking lot. Try to pull through or reverse into your parking space so it is easier and safer to exit. If all else fails, consider installing a backup sensor or rear-view camera.
Drivers should also reduce their speed. Travelling faster than 10 miles per hour is unsafe in most parking lots. Always watch very carefully for pedestrians and other cars.
Motorists should be particularly cautious in small parking garages. Vehicles or pedestrians may unexpectedly appear around corners.
Resource: The Newest Car Accident Prevention Tech
Who is at fault in a car accident in a parking lot?
People injured in these collisions often wonder “Are parking lot accidents 50 50 liability split no matter what happens?” If you’ve been through one, you know that after talking to law enforcement and claims adjusters it might feel like everyone already has their mind up. However, there are no blanket rules for parking lot accidents and the insurance companies will investigate the facts of each accident to determine who is at fault.
Many people are surprised to learn that parking lot right of way will govern who is liable for an accident. If you are traveling on one of the main thoroughways of the lot, you have the right of way and drivers in the feeder lanes should yield. However, if you are backing out the driver in a reverse parking accident is at fault if he or she strikes a legally parked car.
Resource: At Fault Accidents (in Louisiana)
Do police come to parking lot accidents?
Although many people do not believe that law enforcement will come to the scene of an accident in a parking lot, that is not always the case. Even if the police inform you that they cannot come out because you are on private property, you can simply ask them if they are willing to write a private incident report. This helps document the accident by an independent third party. Get a copy of the report number and make sure to ask which police department came out to take your statement.
Some police departments may inform you that they do not write private incident reports. If that is the case, you need to gather all the information a police officer would normally gather such as photos, witness statements, and insurance information.
What do you do when you hit a car in a parking lot?
If you hit car in parking lot, don’t panic! You might have to make an insurance claim but in the long run hitting a parked car is one of the least serious accidents to deal with.
First, try to find the owner of the vehicle. If you can’t, you have the option of contacting law enforcement on your own to document what happened. If this isn’t feasible, you can also leave your contact and insurance information on the vehicle you hit and with the business where the accident occurred.
Although it may be a hassle to deal with, you should never leave the scene without telling someone what happened. Nothing can ruin the holidays faster than finding your car hit in parking lot, no note on the windshield, and a big repair bill, so spread some holiday cheer and own up if you hit a car in the parking lot.
What if I fall in a parking lot?
It’s easy to underestimate the damage that a fall can cause until you experience one firsthand. Emergency rooms in the United States treat more than 8 million people each year with fall injuries, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, approximately 12 percent of these patients are injured in slip and fall accidents.
If the owner of a commercial property fails to fix a slip or trip hazard in their private parking lot, and does not adequately warn patrons about the danger, then the property owner may be liable for any injuries that result.
Similarly, if the owner of a building does not take reasonable steps to remove snow and ice or to warn customers, then he or she may be liable for any injuries that result.
Were you injured in a parking lot accident?
If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. We work on a contingency-fee basis. You may be eligible to file a claim for medical costs, emotional distress and further damages. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if you are eligible for a claim. An experienced attorney at Morris Bart will assist you in the evaluation process. Initial consultations are FREE. We have office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at 1-800-537-8185 today!