Today is “Black Friday”, the official beginning to the holiday season. Everybody is in a hurry, trying to run their errands and get back home to their families, or back to work, etc.. It should come as no surprise that the parking lots of all of these stores and malls are virtual breeding grounds for car accidents.
Although common, parking lot car accidents are usually low-speed collisions. Damage is minimal, and usually personal injuries aren’t very serious. That doesn’t mean you should take one of these accidents lightly, though.
Who’s at Fault?
There are no set laws for determining fault in most parking lot accidents. That’s because most lots are private property, meaning the state traffic and motor vehicle laws generally don’t apply. So, in the vast majority of parking lot accidents, police officers don’t issue tickets.
Quite often, people have heated disagreements when it comes to assigning fault. The insurance companies may decide who’s at fault based on information they get from the drivers and the police. It may take a lawsuit to figure out who’s to blame.
The other driver, the owner of the lot, you or a combination of people may be responsible for vehicle damages and personal injuries.
In a no-fault accident, the driver who had the right of way is usually not responsible for the accident. For example, if you were backing out of a parking spot and hit a car, you would be at fault since you failed to use reasonable care when backing out of your spot.
This is true even though the other driver may not have had the lights on or was driving very quickly.
Drivers Share the Blame
In some cases, it’s impossible for the police or insurance companies to tell who caused the accident. When this happens, and especially when the property damage is minimal and there are no serious injuries, the drivers share the fault. One driver – or the driver’s insurance company – may pay more than the other, but in the end both drivers pay.
Lot Owner Is at Fault
The owner of the parking lot has a responsibility to ensure your safety. The lot needs to be kept in good repair, and the owner must warn people about all known dangers that exist on the grounds. For example, a lot owner may be responsible for the accident if shrubs or sign made it difficult for a driver to see oncoming traffic.
The parking lot usually isn’t the beginning or the end of the errand or task that got you into the car in the first place. It’s just one part of the overall journey. Taking your time and paying attention in the parking lot, just as much as you do while on the open road, can help you avoid an accident.
If you are involved in car accident don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.