What to Do if You Are Involved in a Parking Lot Car Accident
While driving in a parking lot, motorists are often at an increased risk of being involved in a car accident. In fact, more than 500 people are killed and approximately 60,000 victims suffer injuries in parking-lot car accidents each year, according to the National Safety Council.
Due to the risks posed to motorists and pedestrians, it may help to know how to avoid some of the hazards found in parking lots and understand when another driver is at fault for an accident. Below Lynch Law Firm, PC’s New Jersey car accident lawyers have provided several tips for how to avoid a car accident in a parking lot. If you are in need of legal representation after a car accident, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We will help you find out if you have the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.
Common Types of Parking Lot Car Accidents
There are several types of car accident motorists can experience in parking lots. Some of the most common types of parking lot accidents happen when:
- A driver backs out of a space and into an oncoming vehicle
- Two drivers back into each other’s vehicles
- A driver pulls forward out of a parking space and into a through lane, striking an approaching vehicle
- A driver rear-ends another vehicle idle at a stop sign
- Two cars strike each other while attempting to pull into the same parking space
Tips for Avoiding a Parking Lot Accident
There are several things that you can do to reduce the risk of being involved in a parking lot accident, including:
- Reducing your speed – Many parking lots have speed limits of five to 10 mph. Even if a speed limit is not posted, slow down anyway. This will increase your reaction time to adjust to pedestrians walking in your lane or stop for another vehicle backing out of a parking spot.
- Eliminating distractions – Do not engage in distractions while driving through a parking lot. This includes using your cellphone to text or call other people.
- Paying attention when backing out – Always look for other vehicles and pedestrians while backing out of a parking space. Back up slowly and be aware of your surroundings by looking behind your vehicle and using your rearview or side mirrors to look for approaching vehicles or pedestrians.
- Following traffic signs – Pay attention to traffic signs and pavement markings. Follow the directions of arrows and avoid cutting through a parking lot.
Who Has the Right of Way in Parking Lots?
Unlike most roadways, parking lots do not have as clear right-of-way rules. In most parking lots, there are lanes with parked cars on both sides and through lanes around the perimeter of the parking lot.
The general rule is that vehicles in through lanes have the right-of-way. Vehicles that are parked or that are approaching the through lane must yield the right-of-way to motorists already traveling in the through lane. However, if there is a yield or stop sign that the driver in the through lane ignored, he or she may be found at fault for an accident.
When pulling out of a parking space, you must yield to approaching vehicles. Drivers who are exiting a parking space must ensure it is reasonably safe to back out into the through lane.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
If you have been involved in a parking-lot crash, you should immediately take action to secure your car accident claim. This includes:
- Checking yourself and your passengers for injuries
- Exchanging contact information with the other driver
- Writing down or photographing the other vehicle’s license plate
- Documenting the damage sustained to your vehicle
- Reporting the accident to law enforcement
- Contacting your insurance carrier or the at-fault driver’s carrier
Contact Lynch Law Firm, PC for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in a parking lot accident and are considering filing a claim, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Lynch Law Firm, PC’s personal injury lawyers in New Jersey have helped numerous car accident victims pursue claims against negligent drivers. During your free consultation, we will review your collision and determine if the other driver can be held liable for the damages you sustained.
If we find that you have a case, we will help you pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. Our attorneys charge clients on a contingency fee basis, and will only require payment if we obtain compensation on your behalf.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to find out if you have a case.