Settling liability in an accident in a parking lot can be a tricky task; however, there are certain common accidents that occur in which liability can be easily proven.
Most drivers are cautious while driving in a parking lot and they drive slowly. However, a large number of car accidents take place in parking lots as there are too many cars moving in different directions at the same time in a cramped space. The absence of defined driving lanes in parking lots also adds to the confusion.
Colliding with a Car While Backing Out
Drivers who are backing out of a parking lot are supposed to back out just a little so that they can see both sides of the parking lane and check if they are clear. When it has been ascertained that both sides of the parking lane are clear of any oncoming vehicles, the driver should back out completely. A driver may fail to take this precaution and pull out without warning, causing a collision. In this scenario, the liability will rest with the vehicle that is backing out unless the other driver was speeding recklessly.
If a motorist pulls ahead from a parking spot and collides with a car coming down the parking lane, the liability for causing the accident may rest with the driver of the car pulling out ahead. The rules of the road give the right of way to the vehicle proceeding straight and the vehicle pulling out must wait for other vehicles to clear.
Rear-End Collision in a Parking Lot
A motorist in a parking lane comes to a halt suddenly and there is a rear-end collision. A driver who rear-ends a car is generally at fault as he or she is required to drive at a safe distance and should be prepared to stop if the car ahead stops suddenly. Parking lots are no exception to this rule and drivers should be even more careful in parking lots due to the movement of too many cars in a small space.
Suddenly Turning in Front of Oncoming Vehicle
A driver turns suddenly in front of an oncoming vehicle to get a parking space. While driving, you are not supposed to make a left turn when there is incoming traffic from the opposite direction. You are supposed to wait until the traffic is clear and then only make the left turn. The same rule is applicable to parking lots. A collision which results in such a scenario is attributable to the driver of the car trying to get into a parking spot.
Two Cars Collide While Backing Out
This accident is quite common as both drivers are trying to make the same maneuver. The drivers may back out slightly and check that the parking lane on both sides is clear; however, they fail to check their rear and end up colliding with each other. Both drivers are equally at fault for this accident.
Driver Distraction in St. Louis Parking Lots
Driver distraction is a growing concern in parking lots. According to a National Safety Council (NSC) poll, two out of three drivers in parking lots are actively distracted when driving. The NSC has found that as many as 66% of surveyed drivers admitted to making phone calls while driving through parking lots, and another 56 percent admit to texting while driving through parking lots.
Considering the fact that so many drivers are distracted in parking lots, the NSC has urged both drivers and pedestrians to be extra careful and be aware of the surroundings this shopping season. They have also urged people to avoid all distractions while driving in parking lots.
Our St. Louis car wreck attorneys explain that parking lots are a lot riskier than most of us think. Each year, more than 50,000 auto accidents take place in parking lots and parking garages resulting in over 60,000 injuries and around 500 deaths. With the overall increase in traffic deaths across the nation, the NSC has warned that risks in parking lots could possibly increase each year.
Pedestrian Distraction in St. Louis Parking Lots
It is important to note that drivers are not the only ones who are distracted in parking facilities, pedestrians are also. In the time period between 2001 and 2011, around 11,000 pedestrians distracted by their cell phones suffered serious injuries in traffic accidents. Last year, pedestrian deaths increased over the previous year to the highest total since 1996.
NSC has urged drivers to utilize onboard systems to prevent distractions.
- The NSC poll shows that 63% of parking lot drivers use GPS systems while driving. To counter this, the drivers should program their destinations prior to departure.
- Each year, as many as 51% of parking lot deaths happen when drivers are reversing. NSC suggests using backup cameras and taking other measures to look out for other drivers and pedestrians.
These simple steps can go a long way in preventing crashes and injuries.
Parking Lot Accidents Can Lead to Terrible Injuries
Parking lot accidents may seem uneventful at first, but they can pose a lot of dangers. Even a minor collision can lead to severe injuries with long term consequences. A soft tissue injury, for example, can occur when your head is forcefully and rapidly thrown back in forward.
You may not have any visible injuries and you may assume that because the collision was minor, there are no real problems. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis and rule out any potential injury before agreeing on a settlement.
The tricky part of parking lot accidents is that they seem harmless. An experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer can guide you and advise you and ensure you won’t make any mistakes that may jeopardize your claim. They will gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for fair compensation.
How to Drive Safely in a Crowded Parking Lot
If you’re driving in a parking lot, there are a few things you can do to help make sure everyone stays safe.
- Drive Slowly: This will help you have more time to react if someone suddenly walks in front of your car.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings at All Times: Look out for pedestrians and other cars, and be prepared to stop if necessary.
- Don’t Honk Your Horn: This can startle pedestrians and cause them to walk into oncoming traffic.
- Use Your Turn Signals: This will let other drivers know when you turn or change lanes and help prevent any accidents.
What Should You Do if You Get into an Accident in a Parking Lot?
The best thing to do if you’re involved in a minor fender bender in a parking lot is to exchange insurance information with the other driver and then file a police report. This will help make sure that everything is documented in case there are any problems down the road.
If the accident is more serious, or if someone gets injured, you should call the police and ambulance immediately. But, again, it’s important to document everything as accurately as possible so that there are no problems later on.
Legal Help From a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has been injured by a distracted driver in a parking lot during this busy shopping season, you may be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering that resulted. It is important to seek help from a St. Louis personal injury lawyer, who can protect your rights and get you the full amount of compensation you are entitled to. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 to speak to an experienced attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm.