Sometimes, the worst part about holiday shopping and the dreaded parking lot isn’t the lack of parking spaces—it’s the serious injuries and expensive property damages that can occur there.
The holidays are busy and stressful enough. The last thing you need while shopping for gifts is to experience a parking lot accident at the mall. Unfortunately, these types of accidents happen all the time due to increased traffic during this time of year. He
How Can I Avoid Parking Lot Accidents?
There are a few things you can do to make things easier on you and reduce your risk of a parking lot accident:
Park Further Away
It is often easier and safer to find a parking spot farther away from the entrance to a store. In most cases, there are fewer pedestrians and less vehicle traffic the farther away you get.
However, you will need to be careful while walking from your car to the entrance to avoid being hit yourself. Remember, other drivers are likely to be distracted, rushed, and stressed out, too.
Avoid Moving in Reverse When Possible
Accidents in parking lots are more likely to occur when reversing. If possible, limit the distance you have to back up in a parking lot. Try to pull through into your parking space when possible.
It is also beneficial to use a backup sensor, rear-view camera, or other car accident prevention technology. Remember, though, these tools are not an alternative for checking and double-checking the area around your car with your own eyes.
Drivers should also reduce their speed significantly when they enter a parking lot. Traveling faster than ten miles per hour is unsafe in most parking areas. You must move slowly enough to come to an immediate stop if a pedestrian, wheelchair user, car, or anything else moves into your path.
Pay Careful Attention in Parking Garages
Motorists should be particularly cautious in small parking garages, as vehicles or pedestrians may unexpectedly appear around corners. This can cause an injury accident or fender bender.
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Who Is At Fault in a Parking Lot Car Accident?
There are a lot of myths out there about parking lot accidents, police reports, insurance claims, and other aspects of these cases. For example, some people falsely believe that all parking lot accidents automatically call for a 50/50 split in liability. However, this simply is not how it works.
As with other fault-based crash claims, the insurance companies will investigate the facts of each accident to determine who is at fault. This often depends on who had the right-of-way and what each driver was doing when the collision occurred.
Many people are surprised to learn that parking lot right-of-way will govern who is liable for an accident. For example, if you are traveling on one of the main throughways of the lot, you have the right of way, and drivers in the feeder lanes should yield. However, a driver who hits a parked car is almost always liable for the collision, especially when the other vehicle is parked legally.
Do Police Come to Parking Lot Accidents?
Although many people believe that law enforcement will not come to the scene of a parking lot accident, this is, for the most part, another myth. Even if the police do not respond to relatively minor crashes in your area, you can ask them about completing a report on your own or getting an officer to take the report over the phone.
Having this report can be crucial when filing an insurance claim and getting your vehicle repaired.
Whether or not an officer comes to the scene, you can take photos, gather witness contact information, and take other steps to begin building support for your claim. Ensure you get contact details and insurance information from the other driver, as well.
What do You Do When You Hit a Car in a Parking Lot?
If you hit a car in a parking lot, first of all, do not panic! This is why you have auto liability coverage. You might have to make a collision coverage insurance claim to repair your vehicle, and the other driver may have a claim against you. However, hitting a parked car is one of the least serious accidents to deal with in the long run.
First, try to find the owner of the vehicle. If you cannot, you have two options:
- Contacting law enforcement to document what happened
- Leaving your contact and insurance information on the car 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. No one wants to find their car damaged when coming back from holiday shopping with no note on the windshield and a hefty repair bill.
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What If I Suffer Injuries in a Parking Lot Fall?
Falls are another common way people suffer injuries in parking lots during the holidays. It is easy to underestimate the injuries 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 (NFSI). More than one out of every five emergency department visits is because of a fall.
If the commercial property owner fails to fix a slip or trip hazard in their parking lot, the property owner may be liable for any injuries that result. Examples of hazards include:
- Unmarked curbs
- Cracked pavement
- Slick stairs
- Standing water
- Other fall risks
Similarly, if a building owner does not take reasonable steps to remove potential fall hazards, they may be liable for any injuries that result.
Connect with Morris Bart, LLC for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in a parking lot accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis. You may be eligible to file a claim for medical expenses, lost income, emotional distress, and more.
We have office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at (800) 537-8185 for your free initial case assessment.
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