Who Is At Fault In An Accident In A Parking Lot?
According to a recent report, approximately 20 percent of accidents occur in a parking lot. As speed limits are drastically reduced in parking lots, and drivers tend to issue more caution when driving in these areas, it is reasonable to believe that a parking lot car accident would yield minor injury/damage. Unfortunately, the reality is that parking lot accidents can cause significant harm and damage.
Drivers are typically unprepared with how to respond to parking lot accidents. Moreover, there are many misunderstandings centering these types of accidents. Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, you may need to retain a licensed Las Vegas car accident lawyer (remember, the Injury Firm requires no up-front fee for our services) if you wish to receive a fair settlement for your losses. Here is what you need to know about parking lot car accidents:
Parking Lot Accident Fault: The Simple Truth
Parking lot rules of the road differ slightly from traditional surface streets and freeways. There are usually no clear markings and no stop lights. Traveling lanes may be more narrow and there are pedestrians walking in every direction.
Drivers who aren’t paying enough attention might not see pedestrians crossing the lane of travel. Similarily, pedestrians may not pay attention to where they are walking, commonly distracted by their smart phones and shopping bags. All of these factors play a part in the reason behind parking lot car accidents.
Parking Lot Accidents Can Happen In Many Ways
Here are the most common reasons for a parking lot car accident:
- A driver backs out of a parking space and collides with a car traveling in the lane directly behind it
- Two drivers back out at the same time and hit each other
- A driver drives down the wrong lane of travel and hits an oncoming vehicle
- A driver makes a sudden stop and the vehicle behind it hits them, resulting in a rear-end collision
- A driver is driving too agressively
- A driver does not stop for pedestrians
- A driver does not park properly and hits the car next to it
Who Is At Fault In A Parking Lot Accident
Determining fault in a parking lot car accident are similar to any other car accident in Nevada as the rules of negligence apply. The person who should have exercised reasonable care is held liable for the accident and any accompanying injuries or damages.
There are some key differences between surface streets and parking lots that make determining fault more difficult when a car accident in a parking lot occurs. Parking lots don’t adhere to the same rules for traffic flow that exist on surface streets and freeways. Moreover, law enforcement officers are less likely to respond to these types of accidents.
Despite these differences, the same laws for determining fault apply. You should examine each party to detect who failed to issue reasonable caution and/or care. Violating this rule may issue fault, however, if both parties failed to issue due caution, both parties could be to blame.
Parking Lot Accidents and Right-of-Way Rules
In a standard shopping mall or office building parking lot, there are various lanes with cars parked on each side.
In general, the vehicles in the driving lanes have the right of way, and drivers exiting their parking space must yield the right of way to drivers in the through lanes. In other words, if a car in a parking space attempts to leave their parking space and collides with a vehicle traveling in the through lane, it is very likely that the driver in the parking space will be held liable for the crash. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if the driver of a vehicle in the through lane fails to obey a “STOP” or “YIELD” sign that gives the right of way to vehicles exiting the parking space; if a driver of a vehicle is driving on the wrong-side of a through-lane, etc…
Parking Lot Accident Fault: Hit and Run
When you’re in an accident in the State of Nevada, the law requires that you stop your vehicle to exchange your information. You must find the other driver and give them your name and insurance information. If you can’t locate the other driver, you must leave your information in a place they can easily find it. You must also call the police to advise of the accident.
If you fail to do any of these things, you’ve committed a hit and run under Nevada State law. You can face jail time, drivers license suspension, and you can accrue points on your drivers license. If you are caught and say you are not to blame, you’ll have a much harder time trying to make your case if you are in violation of the hit and run laws.
Parking Lot Accident Injuries and the Insurance Company
Although most are minor, some parking lot car accidents can be severe. Some reckless drivers speed and fail to issue caution in these areas, and damages are even worse if a pedestrian is involved.
Some insurance companies may argue that your injuries and damages cannot be that bad since it occurred in a parking lot. However, that does not mean you are not entitled to compensation. Nevada law requires the insurance company to pay you for the value of your claim (damages and injuries) under the insurance policies set in place at the time of the accident. If an insurance company is reluctant to pay, or they give you a hard time, you should consider contacting a lawyer for immediate assistance.
What Should I Do If I’m In A Parking Lot Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a parking lot car accident, you should immediately do the following:
- Contact the police to advise of the crash.
- Exchange contact information with all parties involved. If you cannot locate the owner of a vehicle, leave your information in plain sight.
- Take photos and/or videos of the scene of the crash.
- Seek medical treatment immediately if you suspect injury.
- Document the events surrounding the crash. Include every detail possible.
- Work with an attorney to secure surveillance video and witness testimonies.
See: What Should You Do After A Car Accident?
Should I Call An Attorney After A Parking Lot Accident?
Yes. Just because your accident occurred in a parking lot does not lessen the fact that you could be seriously injured. Moreover, you are entitled to collect the damages you are owed. An attorney can help you by fighting against the insurance comapnies to get the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at The Injury Firm | Las Vegas are available to help you in any way we can. You can contact us at (702) 800-0988 24/7 for a completely free and confidential case review. If we cannot help you, we will advise you of the best plan of action for your specific case.