Traffic accidents happen in an instant. At one moment you’re thinking about dinner, and the next moment you’re trying to figure out what just happened.
The jarring nature of an accident can make it difficult to know exactly what you should do next.
Each traffic accident is unique. However, there are general overarching similarities depending on certain factors — weather, time of day, location, etc. These conditions will affect the way each situation will play out.
We generally think of accidents happening on roadways, and for good cause. This is where the majority of accidents occur.
However, this is not the only place two cars can collide. Parking lots frequently possess two qualities that greatly increase the likelihood of an accident — a large amount of vehicles and distracted drivers.
We have a lot on our minds in parking lots. Where are we going to park? Did we forget anything in the store? Is everything secured? This type of wandering mind can lead to simple mistakes that might leave someone looking for a personal injury lawyer.
There’s a lot of confusion around traffic accidents that occur in parking lots. Let’s look into how fault may be determined in these scenarios, as well as what you should do afterwards.
Was One Car Stationary?
Determining fault in a traffic accident can take a lot of factors into account. However, parking lots often present scenarios that strip away a lot of the outside influences that might be seen in a roadway accident.
For example, there’s a much better chance that one car isn’t moving in a parking lot accident. Perhaps one car is pulling out of a parking spot and simply backs up too far. Any scenario in which one car is moving and the other is not will usually result in the moving car being deemed at fault.
Was There an Established Right-Of-Way?
There are a lot of different ways in which a parking lot can be organized. Some will have all of the parking spots arranged in straight lines so vehicles can enter from either direction. Others will have angled spots which are meant to be entered from one direction.
Situations like this will create a direction in which the traffic is meant to move. The driver that acts against this right-of-way will accept a larger portion of the fault in the accident. This can also take the form of a driver ignoring a stop or yield sign in a parking lot.
Another form of this would involve a vehicle pulling out of a parking spot and striking another vehicle moving down the lane. Since parked cars are meant to yield to cars in the lane, the car moving out of the parking spot will likely be deemed at-fault.
Were Both Vehicles Backing Up?
These situations are a little more open to interpretation. Perhaps each vehicle is in the other’s blind spot and they end up backing into each other. Since there is no established right-of-way and both cars were moving, each driver could share the blame for the accident.
Was the Parking Lot Designed Poorly?
Another possibility is that the owner of the parking lot can be deemed to share the blame for the accident. Each parking lot is designed at the discretion of the owner.
However, drivers should expect to be able to see potential sources of danger. A poorly-designed parking lot — as well as other factors like potholes and pooled water — can contribute to an accident. The property owner can share part of the blame for the accident if this is determined to be a contributor factor.
Dealing With Insurance After a Parking Lot Accident
Parking lots are often private property, so it’s not guaranteed that a police officer will come to the scene and file a police report. Therefore, you need to cover all of your bases to make sure you have all the applicable information.
Be sure to get the other drivers information. Take a picture of their license, get their phone number, and take a picture of their insurance card. Then, take pictures of the accident. Be sure to get the damage on both cars as well as the surrounding scene.
Call your insurance company and follow their directions. And if at any point you disagree with the process or feel you’re being treated unfairly, contact a personal injury lawyer.
What to Do After a Parking Lot Accident
The very first step, as with any traffic accident, is to make sure everybody is okay. Contact medical professionals if anybody is injured. Personal health is the most important concern after an accident. Then contact a personal injury lawyer.
But if nobody’s injured, first call the police and then take care of insurance matters as listed above.Contact the professional car accident attorneys at Bart Durham Injury Law for help after an accident in Tennessee and Kentucky. We’ve been fighting for the rights of car accident victims for years and will work to get you the compensation you deserve.