Hit in Parking Lot? What You Need to Know

It’s quite normal to assume that you’re usually safe from car accidents in a parking lot filled with immobile cars, but the world has a perverse sense of humor. Thousands of pedestrians are struck by cars backing out of their parking spots every year in just about any kind of parking lot. And often it’s not a pretty sight to behold.

These accidents have resulted in fractures to the feet and knees, ligament damage, brain injuries, and facial injuries to name a few. Unfortunately, you risk being struck by a vehicle every time you’re in a parking lot, and the risk multiplies during the holidays when malls and shopping centers are filled with people. On top of that, a study by Texas A&M’s University Center of Mobility found that elderly drivers were 17 times more likely to cause a crash in a parking lot than when they drove on the roads.

Before taking any legal steps of your own, make sure you talk to our experienced car accident lawyer, Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law, for guidance. That should help you make more informed decisions, and more importantly, guide you through the complex world of insurance.

Determining Fault

When an accident occurs on a road, it’s not that difficult to determine who’s at fault. There are clear driving protocols, everyone knows where they’re supposed to go and the rules they’re bound to as soon as they get on the road. If someone’s going the wrong way, everyone knows who it is. A parking lot, however, can be pure chaos.

There’s no clear right of way, cars are going in every direction, and all this makes it hard to determine who made the mistake. However, parking lots have their unique laws, and by referring to them, we can find out who really was at fault.

Right-of-Way

Usually, parking lots consist of numerous lanes with cars parked on both sides, and through lanes around the lot, through which cars enter the parking lanes. Vehicles in the through lanes have right-of-way, and vehicles coming from the parking lanes are required to let them pass.

Let’s say a car leaving a parking lane slams into a vehicle that’s traveling on the through lane. The driver of the first vehicle will be held liable for any damages since the second vehicle (the one traveling on the through lane) had the right-of-way and should have been allowed to pass first.

In some cases, a ‘STOP’ or ‘YIELD’ sign is used to give right-of-way to vehicles exiting the parking lanes, thereby taking away their liability in case a crash happens.

What If You’re Hit as a Pedestrian?

Pedestrian crashes are all too common, and if you can prove that the driver was ‘negligent’, their insurance can cover any resulting medical bills. Drivers have a duty to drive responsibly, and they are considered negligent if they fail in this duty. In such a case, you might have to prove the driver didn’t check their rearview mirror while reversing, or they weren’t paying adequate attention.

Every driver is required by law to maintain no-fault, PIP (personal injury protection), and although it only covers up to $8,000 in PIP benefits, it’s a start. If the driver isn’t insured, your PIP and uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it) can cover your injuries.  In Massachusetts, you are required to carry a minimum of $20,000.00 in uninsured benefits while underinsured benefits are optional.

You’d do well to get a good car accident lawyer by your side before filing a personal injury lawsuit. Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law, has over 30 years’ experience representing clients in car accident claims and can review your case free of charge. Call us today on (781) 289-4235 or send us a message to learn more.