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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is At Fault for a Parking Lot Car Accident: Understanding Liability

A car accident can happen at any time- even when you are barely moving or parked. Tens of thousands of accidents happen in parking lots in the US every year involving vehicles and pedestrian traffic.


Who is at fault for a parking lot car accident, how do they happen, and what is the correct process to follow for anyone involved? Knowing these answers makes a big difference if this ever happens.



How Do Parking Lot Accidents Happen?


It is easy to assume that a place with such slow-moving traffic is not a high-risk spot for accidents, but that is not the case. People are often distracted, and many hazards can be missed, in busy lots especially.


Some of the most common parking lot accidents include:

  • People bumping another car when they are trying to park

  • Collisions between cars on thoroughfare lanes and those pulling out of parking spaces

  • Cars hitting pedestrians

  • Two cars trying to pull into the same parking spot

  • People going the wrong way around one-way systems

  • Bumps between slow-moving vehicles in feeder lanes that are driving too close together

  • Failure to observe right-of-way rules and stop signs

  • Collisions where feeder lanes connect

In most cases, someone is doing something they shouldn't be or is simply not paying enough attention to what is happening around them. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help explain who is liable if a drivers ed student crashes.


Are Accidents in Parking Lots Usually Serious?

Luckily, most parking lot accidents do not lead to significant injuries, although there are several hundred people killed annually (usually pedestrians). Collisions between cars generally only lead to property damage and minor injuries, but it is still vital to determine fault in these situations.


Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Accident


The at-fault party in accidents that happen in parking lots depends on the circumstances. In short, the person who is doing something they shouldn't be and causes a collision as a result of their action is usually to blame.


Here are some common incidents and who is most likely to be found at fault in each.


Rear-End Parking Lot Collision

Many parking lot collisions happen in queued traffic moving through, looking for spaces, or heading to the exit. Rear-end accidents occur when these vehicles are too close together and one car bumps into the back of another.


The same rules apply to rear-end accidents in parking lanes as they do anywhere else. In almost every instance, the at-fault driver is the one behind.


Left-Turn Accidents in Parking Lots

Basic parking lot rules generally include one-way systems, so turning left into a space is not technically allowed. If someone attempts to do so and their car hits someone, they are most likely liable.


Bumps when Pulling In or Out of a Parking Space

One of the most common incidents in lots is when someone bumps into a parked car as they pull in or out of a space. The driver pulling in or out often clips the wing mirror or front or rear end of the other car. In these cases, fault is generally clear-cut, and the person in the moving car is responsible. That said, this only applies to a legally parked car. The driver may have a defense if the vehicle is parked in an illegal space or is way over the line.


It is also fairly common for people to collide with passing vehicles in the feeder lane as they pull out of their parking space. The fault here depends on whether the moving vehicle had the right of way and if the person pulling out was right or wrong to do so.


Why Does Fault Matter in Parking Lot Car Accidents?


No matter how serious or insignificant the injuries or damage may be, there are still expenses incurred. The determination of fault is important to ensure people do not end up facing steep bills because of somebody else's actions.


It also matters for people's insurance costs. If somebody's car is damaged through no fault of their own, but they claim on their insurance for the repairs, they could end up with higher premiums in the future and miss out on no-claims bonuses.


Following a claim led by experienced automobile accident lawyers, the other driver's insurer should be liable for all expenses, so the car owner, who is not at fault, should not suffer the financial consequences.


What is Claimable After a Parking Lot Accident?


Anyone involved in a parking lot crash that was caused by the other driver can potentially claim for the following expenses.

  • Vehicle damage

  • Medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

If a pedestrian is hit by a speeding driver, or someone otherwise determined to be driving recklessly, they may also be able to pursue criminal charges and punitive damages as part of their claim. This also applies in tragic cases where pedestrians are killed in parking lots.


What to Do After a Parking Lot Accident

What to Do After a Parking Lot Accident


The first thing to do after being involved in a parking lot accident is contact the police. It is required by law, and the police report is vital evidence in any claims made following the incident. Never leave the accident scene until the police tell you it is okay.


It is also essential to get the contact and insurance information of everyone involved in the accident and to gather evidence if possible. Possible evidence to be used in a claim includes witness statements, security camera footage, and pictures taken at the scene. When a car accident lawyer is hired for the case (which should also be done as soon as possible), they can help secure all relevant evidence they can use to get a fair settlement from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.


Whether or not there are any obvious injuries present, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention immediately after the incident just to be safe. Also contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys if questioning a t bone accident who is at fault.


Find a Car Accident Attorney who Goes to War for Indy Accident Victims


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Indiana leave no stone unturned as they go to war for those impacted by car accidents that were not their fault. No matter how small or significant, justice and fair compensation are owed to those affected by somebody else's mistake or negligence, and Schuerger Shunnarah can help them get it.


Arrange a free consultation today to discuss parking lot accidents and the next steps in making an insurance claim.

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