Most people view the road as the only place where accidents happen, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although the possibility of a collision occurring in the parking space is much lower than on the road, such accidents do happen and can even be fatal. In 2018 alone, Florida saw 17 fatal and 423 incapacitating cases resulting from parking lot accidents. If you’ve suffered a parking lot accident where your parked car has been hit by someone else, the first course of action should be to inform the police and contact a skilled car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach to advise you on the best way forward.
Common causes of a parking lot accident
Most parking lot accidents happen at busy establishments such as shopping malls, grocery stores, and office parking spaces. While a parking lot accident will occur mostly in places with a lot of in and out traffic, these collisions often happen as a result of various reasons, including:
- Poor visibility: Most drivers move into the parking lot head first, meaning they must back out when leaving the parking spot. In the process, blind spots created by other parked vehicles may hamper visibility and potentially cause a crash.
- Distracted driving: In a National Safety Council public opinion poll, 66 percent of drivers admitted to using their phones to make calls while driving through parking lots. Others admitted to texting, programming the GPS, and watching videos, among other distractions, which explains the high number of accidents in the parking lot.
- Slippery parking lots: In winter months, parking lots tend to be slippery, increasing the possibility of accidents due to poor tire traction.
- Poorly maintained parking lots: Potholes, cracks, or debris on the parking lot can be dangerous to drivers and motorists and can lead to accidents.
Determining fault in a Florida parking lot accident
Parking lots are considered private property, and road usage rules may not apply to parking lots. That said, determining fault in a Florida parking lot accident can get complicated.
When only one car is moving, the fault is placed on the moving vehicle even when it backs into an improperly parked vehicle.
In instances where both cars were moving, the driver who didn’t have the right of way is at fault. However, determining the right of way in a parking lot can be challenging unless there are clearly marked parking lanes and directions.
Every business or property owner is obligated by law to ensure visitors’ and customers’ safety at their premises or property. If your accident happens due to a poorly maintained parking lot, a skilled car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach can help you prove fault and pursue compensation for your loss.
Effect of a parking lot accident on your insurance rates
In common practice, every time a driver causes an accident, their insurance renewal rates go up. But not all accidents are treated equally. A parking lot car accident that is likely to cause an increase in your insurance renewal rate is one where you are more than 50% at fault.
If your car was legally parked, or your vehicle was struck in a hit-and-run accident, your rates may not go up. However, the factors that cause the rates to go up could vary from one insurer to another. Be sure to confirm with your insurance carrier the factors that apply to your specific policy.
What to do when your car is hit while parked
Here are some standard steps you should take after a parking lot accident to strengthen your insurance case:
- Call an ambulance: In case anyone sustains injuries resulting from the accident, health should be the number one priority. Always ensure that you call an ambulance.
- Call the police: Once the police get to the accident scene, they will make a report that will form a key piece of evidence for your case.
- Gather the evidence: Without evidence, it can be a challenge to legitimize your claim. The evidence to collect may include photos, video footage, and witness testimonies and contacts.
- Notify your insurer: Even when you are not at fault, most insurers require that you make a report with them every time you are involved in an accident.
- Get the other drivers’ contact and personal information: The information can include contact details, address, license plate numbers, and insurance information.
Contact an attorney: Hiring an attorney in the event of an accident can significantly increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome for your case.
Was your car hit in a parking lot? Contact an experienced car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach
If your car has been hit in a parking lot in Florida, an experienced car accident lawyer from Fetterman Law can help you prove fault and pursue full compensation for your damages. Our attorneys have been representing accident victims across Florida for over 40 years, including complex parking lot accident cases. Contact us online or give us a call 561-845-2510 to schedule your free consultation today.