Parking lot accidents are often less severe than accidents on roadways, but they can still cause significant property damage and injuries. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault, since cars come and go in multiple directions. Pedestrians may also be involved in the accident, whether they caused the accident, are injured or both.
Here’s how fault is determined in parking lot accidents.
Rear-end parking lot accidents
Generally, the rules for parking lot rear-end accidents are the same as those for roadways: the rear driver is almost always at fault. Drivers are supposed to leave plenty of room in front of them, and failing to do so is often considered negligence. This is true even when the lead driver has to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting someone else, like another car or pedestrian.
Accidents pulling in or out of parking spaces
Sometimes accidents occur when two cars back out of a space at the same time—and into each other. This can make determining fault tough, since both drivers are obligated to ensure it’s safe to back up before doing so. If it’s unclear which vehicle started to back out first, it’s even more difficult to determine who is at fault. Surveillance videos and eyewitness testimony can help, when available. Fortunately, these are the most common type of parking lot accidents, and they rarely result in serious injury.
Right-of-way parking lot accidents
Finally, parking lot accidents can occur when people fail to observe right-of-way rules. Vehicles in through lanes generally have the right of way, and anyone approaching from a parking lane must yield to those vehicles. One exception is when the vehicle in the through lane fails to observe stop or yield signs.
This is also true for left turn accidents, such as when a driver makes a left turn to pull into a parking spot and ends up hitting an oncoming car. The vehicle driving down the parking lane has the right of way, and the parking vehicle must yield before turning.
Pedestrian parking lot accidents
Occasionally, pedestrians cause or are involved in parking lot accidents. Fault is determined similarly to pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents on roads or in intersections: if the pedestrian acted negligently, such as darting out in front of an oncoming car, they may be held responsible.
If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident, contact the Law Offices of Tim Misny today.
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