Parking Lot Accidents
No one wants to get into an accident, particularly one that occurs in a parking lot. Unfortunately, parking lot accidents are not uncommon. That should not come as a surprise to anybody, as these are areas where there are plenty of vehicles gathered together, many of which or traveling in different directions. Drivers must also contend with pedestrian traffic as well. If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a parking lot accident, our Sacramento car accident attorneys want to answer some of the most common questions you may have.
Who is At-Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?
In a typical parking lot, whether at a shopping center or an office building, there will be various lanes with cars parked on both sides. They will also generally be “through lanes” around the perimeter of the parking lot that allow vehicles to enter the parking lanes.
In general, vehicles driving in the “through lane” have the right of way, and drivers approaching these lanes from the parking lot need to yield the right of way to any driver in the “through lane.” If a driver is leaving a parking lane and pulling into the “through lane” in an attempt to leave the parking lot, and they collide with a vehicle in the “through lane,” then the driver leaving the parking lane will usually be at fault for the incident.
Parking lot accidents regularly involved vehicles moving in reverse. In general, if a driver is backing out a parking space and strikes a vehicle in the parking lane, then the vehicle that was in reverse will usually be at fault for the incident.
If two vehicles are backing out of parking spots on the opposite sides of the same parking lane and they collide with one another, fault can be difficult to determine. Both drivers had a responsibility in the situation to ensure that it was reasonably safe for them to back out of their parking space. When one vehicle has already started to back up, the other vehicle on the other side of the lane should observe this and wait to reverse. The vehicle that begins backing out first should have the right of way. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the fault in these situations. In a “simultaneous backup” crash, it may be the case that both parties share fault for the incident.
What to do After a Parking Lot Accident?
There are various steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of a parking lot crash to ensure you received compensation for your injuries or property damage:
- Get out and check for injuries. If there are any injuries involved, seek medical attention for yourself or anybody else.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved, including their name, contact information, and insurance information.
- Gather as much evidence as possible. Use your smartphone or another camera to take pictures of the accident and any damages. Speak to any witnesses and get their names and contact information.
Should I Report a Parking Lot Accident to Police?
California law requires that any accident involving injuries or death to any party be reported to the police. Any accident that results in more than $750 in property damage must also be reported to the police. If you are unsure of the value of property damage involved in the accident, it will always be better to notify the police and let them make a decision as to whether or not a police report is necessary.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help?
A lawyer is going to have the resources and legal experience necessary to help obtain maximum compensation for a parking lot accident case. An injury attorney will obtain any evidence necessary to prove liability, including video surveillance from nearby buildings or businesses, accident reports, statements from eyewitnesses, and more. A car accident lawyer will also work to determine the full extent of your injury and property damage expenses. Importantly, an attorney will be able to stand up to aggressive insurance carriers to negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.