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Who Is At Fault In a Parking Lot Accident?

If you have experienced a car accident in a parking lot, you may be wondering if you or the other driver should be held responsible. There are several factors to consider when determining fault in a parking lot accident, which we’ll explain in this article. Whether you have been in a fender bender or a more serious parking lot collision, the following information is for you.

The car accident lawyers at Cousin Benny help victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents get the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been involved in a parking lot accident in Philadelphia, contact us today for a free consultation.

Common Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots and parking garages are common places for vehicle accidents, especially in the busy shopping areas around Philadelphia. There is a high volume of cars driving in a relatively small area with a lot of coming and going. The most common reasons for parking lot accidents are:

  • Driver is distracted. Oftentimes while searching for that illusive open parking spot, drivers forget to pay attention to the other vehicles and pedestrians around them.
  • Bad site lines and poorly marked roadways. This lack of guidance for where to drive leads to confused motorists and accidents.
  • Tight parking spots. This is especially true in parking garages, where the amount of space between parking spots is limited.
  • Pedestrians walking in all areas. Sidewalks or designated walkways aren’t always available, leaving pedestrians to walk around cars, causing added distractions for drivers.

These conditions typically lead to fender bender accidents, such as backing into another car or scraping the side of another vehicle while pulling into a parking spot. But pedestrians are also vulnerable to injury as they walk to and from their own cars. And while rarer, major collisions can also happen in parking lots, particularly when drivers do not obey the lot speed limits.  

What to Do After an Accident in a Parking Lot?

1. Check Yourself for Injuries

The first thing you should do if you are in a parking lot accident is evaluate your health. If there are any injuries, you should immediately call 911 and seek medical attention. It’s also important to follow up with all doctor recommendations. Should you pursue a lawsuit, your medical records can be important evidence in your case.

2. Move Your Vehicle Out of the Way

Assuming you are physically able to do so, the next step is to move the cars to avoid blocking the road. The last thing you want to do is create another accident by having another driver hit your car. If your vehicle is too damaged to drive, then you should definitely call 911 and seek police assistance.

3. Collect Evidence

It is never too early to begin thinking about an insurance claim or even a lawsuit. The following are essential pieces of evidence to putting your case together:

  • Photos of the accident site, preferably from different angles and vantage points.
  • Name and contact information of the other driver and their vehicle information. Be sure to get their insurance details as well.
  • Witness testimony: ask onlookers to provide a statement of what they saw. Be sure to get their contact information.
  • Contact information of the parking lot owner or manager. If there are security cameras with video recording, then you will want to obtain a copy.
  • Also, be mindful of what you say. Remember that every word is “on the record,” so avoid admitting fault.

4. File a Police Report 

For the sake of any legal action, it is important to have a police report as an official record of the parking lot accident. The police report will be considered by a court or insurance company regarding your case, so make sure that your side of the story is included fairly in that report.

5. Contact Your Insurance Company

You’ll want to contact your insurance company following the accident. However, the extent that your insurance company can help you will depend on the types of coverage you have and the circumstances of the accident. A car accident attorney can also help you with dealing with the insurance company.

How is Fault Determined in Parking Lot Accidents?

Under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault rules, any party that contributes to a parking lot accident can be held liable for their portion of causing the accident. When determining settlements, for example, a percentage of liability will be assessed to each driver. The payout will then be calculated using that percentage of fault. 

For example, if you are driving in a parking lot through-lane (which has the right of way) and another car reverses from a parking spot and hits you, fault is with the reversing car. However, if you failed to obey all of the rules of the road (you were speeding, using a cell phone, etc.) then you are also at fault. A determination will then be made as to how much fault each driver is responsible for.

This is why you need to collect all of the facts and as much evidence as possible, as well as enlist the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who can help prove your case.  

Hire the Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Cousin Benny

If you were recently in a parking lot accident and need assistance with your case, contact the skilled legal team at Cousin Benny. Our injury lawyers have experience dealing with all types of car accidents in Philadelphia. We know how to take on insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today.

Benjamin Hoffman

Benjamin Hoffman is a practicing attorney licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Benjamin handles cases for individuals who have been injured as a result of an accident, slip/trip and fall or medical negligence.

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Benjamin Hoffman
Benjamin Hoffman is a practicing attorney licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Benjamin handles cases for individuals who have been injured as a result of an accident, slip/trip and fall or medical negligence.
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