Though the holidays are over, many people are still rushing to stores for post-holiday returns and using their gift cards to spend on deals during New Year’s sales. Since there are more cars on the road, it only makes sense that there is more of a risk for motor vehicle accidents. Actually, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 20 percent of all auto accidents happen in commercial parking lots. In parking lot accidents, who is at fault is determined by the type of accident you are involved in. Although most parking lot accidents that occur usually involve only property damage, there are times when serious injuries or fatalities can occur…more often than not when the vehicle is in reverse.
The six most common types of car accidents that occur in parking lots are…
1. Two drivers back into each other.
In this case, both drivers are in motion, potentially making both responsible for the collision. Neither of the drivers has the right of way, meaning both are responsible for making certain it is safe to back up. Therefore, both drivers may share fault, depending on the specific circumstances.
2. A driver pulls forward out of a parking spot into the lane of traffic.
A driver who pulls forward out of a parking spot and into a lane must first make sure that it is reasonably safe to do so. If there is another vehicle coming, the parked vehicle must yield the right of way before exiting its parking spot. Failure to do so is in violation of NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law and can result in a ticket and responsibility for being at fault for any ensuing crash.
3. A driver backs out of a parking space, into an oncoming car.
A driver who has their car in reverse should not back up until and unless it is reasonably safe to do so. If the driver who is backing out of a parking lot hits an oncoming car, they can face being issued a ticket for violation of NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law and be held responsible for the accident.
4. A driver backs out of a parking space “backing over” a pedestrian.
“Backing-over” injuries to pedestrians are the type of parking lot accident that can cause the most serious injuries. These injuries include but are not limited to, broken bones, whiplash, cuts, bruises, and torn or swollen muscles, tendons, or ligaments. This type of pedestrian accident is usually due to the driver not paying close or attention or being a distracted driver.
5. Two cars vying for the same space collide.
When two cars are fighting for the last prime parking spot, one car may collide with the other. Now, since both cars are in motion, it is possible that both could share fault, depending on the specific circumstances. However, many wonder which car had the right of way? Just like on the road, a driver making a turn must yield to oncoming traffic. Other factors to consider are the speed of both vehicles and the distance each car was from the parking spot.
6. A car rear-ends another at a stop sign.
Just like on the roadway, the moving vehicle, or the car that collides into the stopped vehicle, is at fault for this type of parking lot accident. Rear-end crashes often occur due to distracted drivers not paying attention to what is in front of them. For example, a person may be checking their purse or pocket quickly to make sure they have their wallet or credit card and suddenly hit the car in front. Unfortunately, even if the car in front stops suddenly, the following car may still be held responsible for not maintaining a safe distance and avoiding the collision.
What You Should Do If You Are Involved in A Parking Lot Car Accident
If you’re ever involved in a parking lot motor vehicle accident, remember to stay calm. Make sure you and all of the passengers are okay. While initially, the damage may appear to be minor, the possibility always remains that someone may have injuries or at least claim injuries in the future. For this reason, always call the police and report the accident so a vehicle accident report can be prepared. If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names, addresses, and phone numbers. If possible take photographs of the accident, the position of the vehicles upon impact, and damage to both vehicles. Check with store personnel and see if they had any parking lot surveillance cameras that may have recorded the accident. Be sure to exchange personal information like your name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number, as well as insurance information. Next, when it is safe, contact your insurance company to report the accident.
At Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi and Pearlman, if you are involved in a parking lot car accident, we want to make sure you know what to do. Whether you are involved in a pedestrian accident in a parking lot or injured as a result of your vehicle being struck in a parking lot crash, call us for a free consultation. We’ll work hard to determine the best course of action for you.
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