There are many steps involved in handling a parking lot accident. If you get into an accident in a parking lot, the first thing you should do is check to see if anyone is hurt. If they are, you should immediately call for medical help. After checking for any injuries, you should call the police to file an incident report. After that, you should get the contact information and insurance information from the other driver. Also, take photos of the accident scene if possible. Then, you should contact your insurance company.
Finally, consider if you need the help of a car accident attorney. Working with a parking lot accident attorney could make it easier to build your case, file your insurance claim, and recover compensation for your vehicle damage and personal injuries.
Information You Should Collect at the Scene
If you have been in a car crash in a parking lot, after you call the police, you should speak with the other driver to get their information, including:
- Name and phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance information
- License plate number
Also, look around for any witnesses who may have witnessed what happened. Get the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident in case you need to get in touch with them later.
If it is easier, you can take pictures of the front and back of the at-fault party’s driver license and insurance card. This is especially important if the police ask you to file a police report because the parking lot accident only caused minor property damage.
If your injuries are too severe to do this, know that the responding officers should collect information about the at-fault driver and their insurance policy as a part of handling the parking lot crash case.
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Take Photos at the Scene
Another important step—and one that many people fail to take—is to take photos of the scene. Today, this is much easier than in the past because almost everyone has a cell phone with a camera in their pocket. Before anyone moves the cars, take photos of:
- Damage to the vehicles
- How they are parked in the parking spaces, if applicable
- Broken glass
- Skid marks
- Any other property damage inside the car
You want to ensure these photos show both the details of the damage and give others an overall view of the parking lanes and the parking garage or surface lot. Your parking lot accident lawyer will want these images as they begin to investigate your parking lot collision and build your insurance claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It is generally a good idea to report an accident to your insurance company, even in cases where you believe the damage is minor and could be worked out between you and the at-fault driver directly. This discretion is because damage could be worse than you initially realize, and if you have not reported it, the insurance company could deny your claim.
Most insurance carriers have a policy requiring policyholders notify them as soon as possible after a crash, even if it is a fender bender while your car was sitting still in a parking spot.
In cases where you believe the other driver is entirely at fault for the accident, it is still important to contact your insurance company. This policy is especially true if you suspect the other driver may not have car insurance. You may have uninsured motorist coverage or collision insurance that could cover the cost of your damages.
Determining Liability During a Crash in a Parking Lot
The main legal principle that governs fault in car accident cases—regardless of their location—is negligence. We presume all drivers are cautious and obey the law. However, if a driver is not cautious in a parking lot and violates traffic laws, they are said to be negligent.
The reason it is important to take photos at the scene, document the damage and position of the vehicles, and get contact information for witnesses is that they can help determine liability. A police accident report will also carry significant weight with the insurance company in determining liability.
The liable party is generally legally responsible for all damages that occur in accidents in parking lots or other locations. The victim files a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance provider to recover compensation. This could include medical expenses, minor or severe damage to the vehicle, pain and suffering compensation, and more.
In some cases, there may be a third party responsible who is liable for damages in a parking lot, such as the parking lot owner or manager of the premises. For example, if a reasonable person would have foreseen the likelihood of an accident in a poorly lit parking lot, the owner could be found liable for the accident as well.
When Do I Need an Attorney for My Parking Lot Collision?
If there is only a very small amount of damage from the car accident, you may feel that speaking with a lawyer is unnecessary. However, if there is significant property damage or you had to seek medical attention because of the crash, a car accident lawyer can help evaluate your case, review the evidence, and help you explore your options for recovering compensation.
Many people think of parking lot accidents as minor crashes with minimal damage. While the nature of parking lots leads to a lot of slow-speed collisions with unoccupied vehicles, serious injuries can and do occur in busy parking areas. If you suffer more than minor scrapes in an accident, you should seek medical treatment and file a claim for compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Parking Lot Accident for Free
If you live in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, or Alabama, contact the team at the Morris Bart law firm for a free, no-risk consultation. Our lawyers provide free initial consultations for accident victims who need help navigating the claims process or have questions about their legal options. We know how to handle parking lot fender benders, crashes with severe injuries, and all types of accidents in between.
Contact us today online or over the phone. We have a lawyer ready to speak with you now.
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