Determining fault for these incidents can be very tricky. In many parking lots, it can be difficult for drivers to tell who has the right of way when there are insufficient traffic flow signs, and this is an important factor in naming the liable party.
One of our car accident attorneys on Long Island will thoroughly go over your case with you and investigate to figure out the party who is responsible for the accident.
The role of fault in a parking lot accident case
An at-fault driver is responsible for the damages his or her behavior causes. Luckily, most parking lot accidents only equate to minor fender-benders, but this isn’t always the case. Even a mild impact can cause an injury or aggravate a pre-existing medical condition for some drivers.
Though it is scary to think about, there is also the risk that a distracted driver could run into a pedestrian. In addition, most people of average height will appear in a rearview mirror, but children and small pets are not so easy to see, and if they are standing behind a vehicle attempting to back up, they could be hit.
Though this accident would not necessarily be the fault of the driver, but rather of the parent or pet owner, it is reason enough to take extra caution in parking lots especially when going in reverse.
How we can determine who is a fault in your parking lot accident
Because it may be unclear at first, we can gather evidence to name who is at fault for the accident. We can use different forms of evidence, such as:
- The incident report, if available
- Dash-cam data
- Photos of the scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Video surveillance (e.g., security footage from the parking lot)
Once we have a sufficient amount of evidence, we can use it to prove that the other party was at fault by establishing the four elements of negligence, which are:
- Duty of care: The other party was to act responsibly in the parking lot.
- Breach of duty: They were careless and didn’t check to see if the coast was clear before they made a move.
- Causation: This negligence caused the accident.
- Damages: You’re now sustaining damages, such as property loss and medical bills.
Accidents while parking
Many parking lot accidents occur because drivers do not exercise care when pulling into parking spaces. If a driver pulls into a parking space too quickly without being able to fully see if there is anyone already there, it is possible he or she could crash into a motorcycle, Smart Car, or another compact vehicle that is not so easily visible.
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Backing out of a space
When a driver backs out of a parking space, any drivers nearby passing or waiting for the space to open need to provide room for the reversing driver to safely maneuver. Otherwise, the driver backing out has insufficient space to safely exit the parking lot.
It is also possible for two vehicles to collide when both drivers attempt to back out of their spaces at the same time. Drivers in nearby spaces may crash if they reverse in opposite directions, or a crash could happen when drivers on opposite sides of the through lane back up at the same time.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and wait if you notice another nearby driver backing out of a parking space when you intend to leave rather than try to beat them to the punch and wind up in a collision.
What is “right of way” and why does it matter?
Traffic signals like stop signs, traffic lights, one-way signs, and other signs all help drivers anticipate the actions of other drivers. The “right of way” applies to the driver who expedites the flow of traffic the most.
Imagine an intersection with two lanes in each direction, and the left lanes are for turning. When the drivers in the turning lanes have a green arrow, they have the right of way to turn. When the arrow turns yellow and then disappears, the drivers traveling straight have the right-of-way, and a driver who wants to turn must wait until the way is clear as long as there are no other signs that prohibit turning at the time.
At a four-way stop sign, most drivers generally follow a “first come, first served” rule; the first driver to stop at the intersection goes first, followed by the next driver to stop, and so on. If a driver “rolls through” a stop sign by failing to come to a complete stop, it can disrupt the flow of traffic through the intersection and cause an accident.
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Traffic issues with parking lots
The problem with parking lot accidents is that most do not have traffic signals beyond a few stop signs and designated turning lanes. Generally, vehicles in through lanes have the right of way, but not everyone may know this or choose to abide by it even if they do know.
If a driver pulls out of a parking space and into a through lane and collides with a driver in the through lane, the driver who left the parking space will likely be at fault for the accident because it was the other driver’s turn to go.
Blind spots and distractions certainly play significant roles in parking lot accidents, but being aware of your surroundings while backing out of a space is crucial and is the full responsibility of that driver.
Our attorneys can help you with your case on a no-win, no-fee basis
Figuring out what and who caused the accident can be a lot on your own, especially when you’re trying to heal from your injuries. Let an accident lawyer from our firm help you with these tasks, in addition to:
- Ordering a copy of the accident report
- Assessing and quantifying your financial and non-financial damages
- Taking over communication with involved parties
- Fighting for an appropriate settlement
- Adhering to the statute of limitations as enforced by CVP §214 and/or EPT §5-4.1
Our lawyers can take over these responsibilities and others for you on a contingency-fee-basis, so you don’t pay us any upfront fees for our services. Instead, we will take our fee once you get compensation. If we can’t get you any compensation, our services will still be free of charge.
Damages you can recover after a parking lot accident
If the parking lot accident left you or a loved one with injuries, a damaged car, and/or high medical bills, you might be entitled to compensation. Forms of damages you can recover include but are not limited to:
- Past and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Past lost wages
- Future loss of earning potential
- Property damage
If your loved one lost their life in a parking lot accident, you can recoup expenses for their funeral service costs, medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as your loss of inheritance or financial support.
Get in touch with Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today
At Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., we know the frustration you can experience after a minor parking lot collision, those of which are increased if you were also injured as a result. Our personal injury firm has decades of experience handling claims of this nature, and we stand by our clients while we investigate and determine who is at fault.
Call Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today for your free consultation.