It may surprise some people to learn that a parking lot is one of the most dangerous places for a driver to be. About 50,000 accidents occur in parking lots each year, sometimes leading to serious injuries such as concussions, whiplash and even fatalities.
Who’s at fault in a parking lot crash?
In Florida, there are a number of important factors that will determine who was at fault in a parking lot collision.
Parking lots are considered private properties in the state of Florida, which means laws that help determine who’s at fault work a little bit different than crashes that occur on highways, neighborhood roads or high traffic city streets.
This also means the police aren’t as likely to arrive on the scene. Unless there are serious injuries, it will be up to the drivers to gather the necessary information for their insurance companies, such as the driver’s name, contact information, the make and model of the other vehicle, and the names and numbers of any witnesses. The latter is especially important because it will be valuable to prove negligence (if necessary).
Florida is also 1 of 13 states with no-fault insurance policies. This type of insurance pays for the injuries and damages of the policyholder rather than that of the other injured party. Generally, your damages from a parking lot accident will be covered under your own PIP insurance policy up to $10,000.
If your damages exceed this amount, you will need to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. For this, a personal injury lawsuit must often be filed.
Common causes or parking lot accidents
Every scenario is different. But here are the most common examples of parking lot accidents in Florida:
- Backing into an approaching vehicle. The driver in the traffic lane has the right of way. Most likely the vehicle backing out of the parking space will be at fault because they are required to wait until the lane is clear behind them before moving.
- Rear-ending at a stop sign. If driver A hits driver B who’s stopped at a stop sign in a parking lot, the fault almost always goes to driver A. This is also known as a rear-end car accident.
- Failure to yield to pedestrians. Whether you’re in a parking lot or sitting at an intersection with a crosswalk, pedestrians always have the right of way. If you back up into someone or are driving down the lane and hit a pedestrian, you will most likely be at fault.
- Two drivers backing into each other. Unless there’s clear evidence of negligence, both drivers will most likely share the blame for this type of accident. Neither of them had the right of way and were both responsible for checking their surroundings before backing out of their respective parking spaces.
- Two drivers trying to park in the same spot. Determining who has the right of way before the 2 vehicles hit each other is the tricky factor in this scenario. Often, both drivers will be at fault because they were both moving when the accident occurred. However, sometimes the driver making a left turn will be the only one found at fault because they failed to yield to oncoming traffic.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury due to a parking lot accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Our experienced and licensed professionals are ready to discuss your options and legal course of action in a free consultation.