‘Tis the season for chaotic shopping malls, car accidents, and slip and falls. During the holiday season, a trip to your local shopping mall is an unavoidable activity for most of us. With increased traffic both on the streets and inside of the mall, potential accident injuries are in abundance. If you’ve experienced an accident injury during the holiday season, here are a few tips to abide by from our Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer, Brian M. Boyer:
Although you would generally move slowly through a parking lot, and issue caution to both vehicles and pedestrians around you, the hectic holiday season can bring increased distractions and irate drivers to the mix. An untold number of accidents occur each year in shopping mall parking lots, especially during the holiday season.
Parking Lots are Private Property
Most parking lots are private property. That said, the same laws that govern automobiles on public roads do not always apply to private property. In most events, since low speeds are involved and very few people suffer injury as a result of the accident, local governmental agencies will not issue blame to the accident. You may even have a difficult time getting a police officer to respond to document the accident.
Gathering Insurance Information and Witnesses
Since most parking lot accidents take place on private property, insurance companies will become the final arbiters in dictating who is at fault and who will pay for damages. You are then responsible for gathering the other party’s information and statements from witnesses. This is going to be essential for defending your case! Without a doubt, every driver involved will have different perspectives of what took place, and under this logic, witness statements will be invaluable in your case!
If you are unable to gather the other party’s information, take down as much information as you can (such as license plate numbers and witnesses information). If a person is apprehensive in rendering insurance information, it is safe to assume that they do not have coverage. They may also claim that you are at fault and your insurance company should pay.
If they are reluctant to provide you their information, you should attempt to call the police and, if necessary, have them document the scene. If they refuse to come to the scene because it took place on private property, you should go to the nearest police station to file a report. The more information you have, the stronger your case will be.
File With Both the Police and Insurance Company
Although parking lot accidents may seem minor and not include any physical damage, it is still best to contact your insurance company as quickly as possible, if for no other reason than to document your side of the story. This will add protection to you in the event the other party contacts their insurance company and provides incorrect information. Accidents that occur in shopping mall parking lots are some of the most disputed accidents. For this reason, you should file a police report–even if you have to walk it into the police station to do so. This can protect you should the other person not have insurance or if she attempts to file a Las Vegas personal injury claim after the fact.
Several factors are taken into account when determining fault in a shopping mall parking lot from the eyes of the insurance company. Typically speaking, if you are backing out of a spot when the accident occurs, you will be blamed as it is your responsibility to yield to oncoming traffic.
The positioning of impact can become a deciding factor in determining fault as well. If someone backs into you, he/she will be held responsible for the accident. If you are backing up and someone hits you, generally the other driver will be responsible in full or part for the accident. Depending on how close to the front of the car that the damage occurs the more likely the liability for the accident is to be placed on the one driving the car that was not backing out.
In most cases, liability for an accident in a parking lot is not relayed to just one party. Typically, both parties will share in liability with varying percentages of fault unless one side can provide significant information, including eyewitness reports.
In the event your accident took place inside of the shopping mall, by way of a slip and fall, hazardous object, or negligent security, please read “Injured In Las Vegas? Who To Sue?”
If you or a loved one has experienced a car accident in a shopping mall, please do not hesitate to contact The Injury Firm to speak with our Las Vegas personal injury attorney for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.