Settling liability in an accident in a parking lot can be a tricky task; however, certain common accidents 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 backing out of a parking lot are supposed to back out just a little, so 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 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 an 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 applies to parking lots. A collision that 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 try 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 collide 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.
Because so many drivers are distracted in parking lots, the NSC has urged drivers and pedestrians to be extra careful and 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 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.
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 before 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.
How to Prove Parking Lot Accident Fault
Parking Lot Surveillance Footage
CCTV surveillance footage can provide a clear picture of what happened during the accident and who is to blame. It can also provide evidence of any reckless or reckless behavior that caused the accident. The footage can also help prove the speed at which the vehicles were traveling, which can be used to determine fault.
However, obtaining the footage is not always easy to access. This is because the footage often belongs to a third party, and they may not be willing to provide it without a warranty. An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney will have the knowledge and resources to obtain the footage and use it to prove fault.
The Police Report
No matter how small the accident seems or how convincing the other driver is, it’s generally advisable to call the police after an accident. When responding officers arrive at the accident scene, they will assess the situation, take statements from witnesses, and make a police report of the incident. You can use the police report to prove fault in a parking lot accident.
The police report can provide vital information about the accident, including the time, location, and other factors that may have contributed to the crash. In some cases, the police officer may also include a sketch of the scene. All of this information can be used to help determine who was at fault for the accident.
Parking lot accidents often happen in high-traffic buildings, which means there is a good chance that eyewitnesses were present when your accident occurred. Eyewitness statements can be a powerful tool in proving fault. These witnesses can provide a firsthand account of the events that took place and can offer details about the speed and direction of the vehicles involved.
Testimony From Accident Reconstruction Specialists
If there was no surveillance footage, witnesses, or any other form of physical evidence available to determine fault in a parking lot accident, an accident reconstruction specialist could be a valuable source of information. An accident reconstruction specialist will use their knowledge and experience to analyze the circumstances of the accident, including the vehicles’ positions, damage, speed, and other factors. They will then provide an opinion on how and why the accident occurred.
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.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay unless we get you money!