Parking Lot Accidents: Who’s At Fault?
Parking lots are one of the most common areas to get into a car accident. And, even though cars are generally moving slower than they would be on the roads, these accidents can still cause damage and injury and need to be taken seriously. It can also be challenging to accurately determine who is at fault in a parking lot accident and who has the right of way in a parking lot, making insurance claims more complicated. If you have questions about this and want to speak with an experienced car accident attorney, call me at the Law Office of James A. Maniatis. I have locations in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Southborough, and Webster but represent clients throughout the Commonwealth.
Common Accidents in Parking Lots
Although the type of accidents that occur in parking lots can differ, there are few that are seen over and over. Perhaps the most common is when cars enter or leave a parking space. Parking lots are crowded, and cars can be very close to one another, making it difficult to check your blind spots. If a car is reversing out of a spot, and the other cars around them fail to stop, this could result in a collision. There may also be disputes about which car gets to park in a specific spot, and two cars may collide as they both attempt to take the space. Lastly, accidents can occur due to hazards or unsafe conditions in the parking lot itself. For example, if the lot is not well-lit or has potholes and uneven ground, this could also cause an accident.
Right-of-way rules can often be hard to determine in a parking lot. However, there are a couple of rules that you should know and abide by to reduce the chance of an accident. The first is that pedestrians always have the right of way, regardless of where they are or whether they’re using a designated crossing area. Another right-of-way rule applies to large parking lots with a main perimeter lane that feeds into the interior feeder lanes. In general, cars in this perimeter lane will have the right of way, and the car in the interior lane must yield to them. The only exception to this rule would be if there was a stop sign in the perimeter lane to allow other cars to enter. Another somewhat unspoken rule states that cars that are backing out of parking spaces must yield to the cars already driving.
Who’s At Fault?
When you hire a personal injury attorney to help with your claim, their first priority will be to find out who was at fault for the accident occurring since this determines who’s responsible for paying damages. In most cases, one of the drivers will be responsible since they should be moving slowly and cautiously through the lot. In an ambiguous case, liability may need to be shared between two parties if you can’t obtain enough evidence that clearly points to one driver.
In some cases, it may actually be the pedestrian who’s at fault for the accident, though this is rare since cars have the responsibility to yield. However, if you can prove that the pedestrian wasn’t paying attention and darted in front of a car without giving the car adequate time to stop, they could be held liable.
Finally, fault can lie with the parking lot owner if you can prove that the conditions of the lot caused the accident. This could be due to poor lighting or unclear or missing signage.
Serving Those Who Were in Parking Lot Accidents
If you’ve been in a parking lot accident and are in the Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Southborough, or Webster area, call me today at the Law Office of James A. Maniatis to discuss your options. I have the practice, knowledge, and resources to assist you toward a brighter future.