Contrary to popular belief, parking lot accidents are commonly more than just fender-benders. Often those involved in parking lot accidents sustain significant injuries. According to CBS News, approximately 60,000 people are injured and at least 500 die every year as a result of parking lot accidents in the U.S.
Parking lot accidents are the subject of many legal myths. Many of these myths revolve around the idea that the normal rules of the road don’t apply while driving in private parking lots. , However, parking lot accidents are governed by the same vehicular laws that oversee accidents on a public roadway.
If you are injured in a parking lot, be sure to seek prompt medical attention after reporting the accident to the police. Especially, if you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian.
After an accident, it can be difficult for even the most experienced drivers to determine who is at fault. Contact a parking lot accident lawyer near you if you have any questions and would like guidance on seeking compensation for your injuries.
What Should You Do When You Are Hit in a Parking Lot?
If You Are Hit While in a Vehicle
- Stop the vehicle immediately, and put it in park. Calmly get out of the vehicle to survey the damage and check on the health of everyone involved.
- If anyone in the vehicle thinks they might be injured, you are legally obligated to report the accident immediately. Call 911 to report the accident, and request an ambulance if anyone is seriously hurt.
- Before moving any vehicles, take photos of the accident. Then, move any vehicles obstructing the parking lot lane to a safe spot nearby.
- Calmly exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver or persons involved. Do not discuss the matter of fault nor apologize for the accident. Do not let emotions get the best of you. Remain focused on reporting the accident as soon as possible.
- Gather contact information from any witnesses at the scene.
- If no one was hurt and the estimated property damage is less than $1,000, you do not have to report the accident. Though you should still file a report online within the next 10 days following the accident to serve as a record of the collision.
- Seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you do not feel hurt. Go to the ER for obvious injuries. Have yourself examined by an urgent care clinic or physician within the next 48 hours, even if you do not have severe injuries.
- Shortly after the accident, write your own personal report of the incident, and take photos of the damaged areas of your vehicle. Also, take photos of any injuries you have immediately following the accident and any injuries that may develop in the following days
- Reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer before speaking with your insurance company to learn about your options and how to pursue a possible claim.
If You Are Hit as a Pedestrian
- Yell to notify the driver to stop their vehicle and get out of the path of any vehicles as soon, and safely, as possible.
- Get to a safe place nearby, and call 911 to report the accident and any injuries to yourself or others. Request an ambulance if you think you might be seriously hurt.
- As calmly as possible, exchange contact and insurance information with the driver of the vehicle that hit you. If the driver is in the process of fleeing, try to take a photo of them, their vehicle, and their license plate to use as identifiers.
- Take photos of your injuries as soon as possible. If you are able to move, take photos of the area where the accident occurred and any relevant debris, landmarks, or evidence of the accident. If you are seriously hurt, remain seated or lying down until EMS arrives to prevent exacerbation of injuries.
- Gather contact information from any witnesses at the scene.
- When the police arrive, describe the accident as clearly and as accurately as you are able to. Do not try to speculate on fault. Do not admit fault or describe yourself as careless. Answer any questions truthfully.
- If EMS evaluates you and recommends you take transport to the hospital, do not decline. In the event that the responding medics do not recommend immediately going to the hospital, stay conscious of any new pain you might be experiencing. If the pain is severe, go directly to the emergency room. Any minor pain should be looked at by your primary care provider or an urgent care physician.
- Write your own personal report of the incident, and take photos of any injuries you have over the next few days. You should also write an account of your personal pain and suffering.
- Reach out to an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer before talking to insurers. An attorney will inform you of your legal rights and guide you through the process of calculating your damages and seeking compensation.
Who Has the Right of Way in a Parking Lot?
Parking lots operate by many of the same rules of the road governing highways and streets. Because parking lots clearly have a different nature and purpose than streets, there are also a few other rules that dictate how people should navigate parking lots.
- Thoroughfares and feeder lanes: Most parking lots have two main types of roadways. A thoroughfare is a faster roadway serving as the entry and exit point for the lot. Feeder lanes hold the majority of available parking spaces and are for lower-speed traffic. Vehicles in the feeder lanes should yield to those moving through the thoroughfare.
- Stop and yield signs must be obeyed.
- Vehicles entering or leaving parking spaces must yield to traffic in the feeder lane or thoroughfare.
- Pedestrians have the right of way in crossing areas and pedestrian pathways. Vehicles must also make an effort to examine their surroundings before backing up.
- Pedestrians must observe caution and be sure to cross along designated crossing zones whenever possible. Pedestrians are expected to exercise care to avoid backing out vehicles to the extent possible.
- A moving vehicle that strikes a parked vehicle is almost always considered at fault.
- When two vehicles collide while competing for the same space, the vehicle turning left is more likely to be considered at fault.
- When two vehicles backing out at the same time hit one another they may share fault evenly depending on the circumstances.
Fault in a parking lot can be murky, and will usually depend on the situation. Proving fault can come down to establishing who had a duty of care and how they violated it.
An especially complicated circumstance arises when a pedestrian in a feeder lane is accused of not watching out for a reversing vehicle. Both individuals may share fault and split responsibility for damages based on New York’s comparative fault rules.
Parking Lot Owner Liability for Injuries and Accidents
In some cases, the fault for a serious accident and injury could lie with the person who owns the property. It may also lie with the companies that designed the parking lot, constructed it, or maintained it.
Review your case with an experienced attorney to determine whether third-party negligence could be the primary cause of your accident.
Speak to an Experienced Parking Lot Accident Lawyer
Parking lot accidents and the injuries they cause should not be taken lightly. If you are hurt, you owe it to yourself to get a full medical diagnosis and speak with an experienced parking lot accident attorney to evaluate your potential claimNew York’s no-fault insurance system can pay for some of your damages, but in many situations, you will need to file a liability claim against the other driver to recover the remainder.
TonaLaw can assist you with documenting your losses, filing a claim, and fighting back against insurance companies that will always attempt to deny fault. Our goal is to serve as your guide and legal advocate during the process, and we aren’t afraid to take your case to court if that’s what it takes. Our case history includes a proven track record of helping clients who have been hurt in parking lot accidents, so contact us today to schedule your free case review.
Schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation today by calling 833-866-2529 (833-TONA-LAW) or contact us online.