Why Fault for a Parking Lot Crash May be Complicated

daytime shot of parking lotDrivers tend to relax when traveling through a parking lot. They have almost reached their destination, and other vehicles are traveling more slowly so they may feel there is less risk of a crash.

However, there are pedestrians to watch out for who may not be paying as much attention as they should. Some drivers may speed in parking lots and violate right-of-way rules. Meanwhile, others may forget or simply choose not to look behind them when backing out of a parking space.

There are many ways a crash can occur in a parking lot, and because of all the activity, assessing liability for the crash may be difficult. If you get into a parking lot crash and have questions about who may be at fault and/or filing a claim for compensation, Phillips Law Group is here to help. Our Phoenix auto accident attorneys have helped many car crash victims recover compensation.

The initial consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire our firm to represent you.

General Rules for Driving in Parking Lots

There are some general rules drivers must follow to prevent a dangerous accident in a parking lot. Attorneys and insurance companies often use these rules to help them assess which driver was at fault for a collision.

  • Cars in through lanes have the right of way. Cars backing out of parking spaces must yield to vehicles in through lanes.
  • If a car is legally parked and you crash into it, you will probably be liable. However, if the car was parked illegally, the driver of that vehicle may hold fault for the crash.
  • You must follow all traffic signs and signals. Crashes that result from your failure to follow signs and signals are generally going to be your fault.
  • If you damage another vehicle by opening your car door, you will likely be at fault for any damages.

Fault can be complicated in many situations. For example, what if you were breaking a traffic law but the car that hit you was speeding? The driver of that vehicle may be partially liable for the crash, even if you hold most of the fault.

If two cars pull into a parking spot at the same time, it can be very difficult to determine who is to blame for the crash. It is likely that both drivers contributed to the accident and may share liability for the damages.

Steps for Preventing a Parking Lot Crash

There are various steps you can take to prevent some of the most common parking lot crashes. For example, simply slowing down and obeying posted speed limits can go a long way toward keeping you out of harm’s way. By slowing down, you will have more time to react and avoid other vehicles, pedestrians or obstacles.

Be patient about finding a parking spot. If another car is close to a space you want, maybe it is better to just let the other driver have it. If you attempt to pull into the spot, the other driver could become angry and ram into you.

Watch out for small children before getting into your car, as they can be difficult to see. Once in your car, look behind you before backing out of any parking space. You should also back out slowly so drivers in through lanes have more time to react. Always check your mirrors, turn and physically look behind you, and continue to watch while you back out of the spot.

Be extra careful when approaching crosswalks or the portion of road that is perpendicular to the lanes with parking spots. Pedestrians are often in these areas.

When you get out of your car and become a pedestrian, look both ways before crossing the street or entering the roadway. Look left, then right, then left again. If a car is approaching and slowing down, you should wave or make eye contact with the driver. If he or she makes eye contact or waves you on, you know it is safe to walk. You should never assume a driver sees you or will stop.

People are often distracted in parking lots, so remaining alert as both a driver and pedestrian can help to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

How to Handle a Parking Lot Crash

Despite your best efforts, you may end up in a parking lot crash. Even if you are concerned you may have caused the accident, it is important not to admit fault at the scene. Try to avoid getting angry at the other driver.

Handle a parking lot crash exactly as you would manage any other car accident. Call the police so they can investigate and file a report, seek medical help and be careful how you talk about the crash with the insurance company.

You should strongly consider seeking legal representation, as an attorney will be focused on your best interests, not the insurance company’s bottom line. A lawyer can deal with the insurance company on your behalf to protect the full value of your claim.

Call Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

After an accident, it is important to speak with a licensed attorney about whether you may be able to pursue compensation for your damages. Phillips Law Group has a proven track record of recovering compensation for auto accident victims.

There are no upfront fees for our services and no fees while we work on your case. In fact, you pay us nothing unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Learn more by calling 602-222-2222 today. We are here to help.