It is not uncommon for car accidents to happen in parking lots.
Parking lots can be very active, especially during holidays or on the weekends, and they often do not have clear markings for drivers to follow.
There are no specific Florida parking lot laws that require these lots to mark anything other than designating handicapped parking spaces.
With this in mind, you may wonder “how do you determine fault in a parking lot accident?”
Although Florida is a no-fault state, that doesn’t mean you can’t be held responsible for an accident that you cause or at fault for.
Determining fault all comes down to the rules of the road. Driving laws apply to parking lots the same way that they do on the road. The only way to determine parking lot accident fault is to ask two questions: Were both vehicles moving? And who had the right of way?
If a fender bender in a parking lot happens where one vehicle was still parked, the moving vehicle will automatically be held at fault. After all, the parked car couldn’t do anything that could have led to it being hit.
However, if both vehicles were moving at the time of impact, the fault will have to be determined based on the accident’s facts.
Common Parking Lot Car Accidents
Two Cars backing Up At Same Time
When two cars are backing up simultaneously, they may have a collision because they did not see the other vehicle in their blind spot or were looking in a different direction. Parking lot accident fault both backing up generally results in both vehicles being held equally responsible for the event. However, if there is evidence that one party was more at fault, the injured party may seek a claim against the other driver.
Backing Into An Oncoming Vehicle
There could be many reasons why this type of accident occurs. A car could back out into the driving lane without seeing the oncoming vehicle due to a blindspot or lack of attention. Or, as in many cases, a vehicle is driving too fast down the lanes without paying attention and does not see the vehicle backing out and stop accordingly.
Two Cars – One Space
Two cars may collide if they both try to enter a parking space at the same time. Most parking lots have eliminated this type of accident from happening by designing the lots to have one way of driving down each lane. However, these accidents can still occur.
Pulling Into Oncoming Traffic
The rules of the road apply in a parking lot. People in a parking lane must yield to the vehicles driving down the main lanes. If a vehicle pulls out into oncoming traffic, an accident can occur.
Of course, there may be other reasons why an accident has occurred in a parking lot. These examples are just the most common events.
You Must File A Police Report To Make A Claim
The Florida law for reporting a car accident in a parking lot is just the same as if you were on the open road. Florida is a no-fault state. You should notify the police immediately if an accident occurs. If there are any injuries, you should notify the dispatcher when you call in the accident so that emergency services can be sent to the scene.
If you can move the vehicles out of the parking lot’s main lanes to help prevent traffic from stopping, you should do so as soon as possible. However, if there has been an injury or severe damage to a vehicle and it cannot move, you do not have to worry about moving either car.
When the police arrive, you will need to provide your identification, insurance information, and provide a statement of the event. Once you have been released from the scene, you should seek any necessary medical care and contact your insurance company. Before giving any official written or verbal statement to the insurer, you should contact an attorney to protect your rights.
Fault Determination In A Parking Lot Accident
As Florida is a no-fault state, many people wrongly think that they cannot be held accountable for an accident that they cause. This is false.
Drivers in Florida are required to carry $10,000 of PIP insurance. The at-fault driver in a crash will likely have to use that insurance to pay for damages. Anything more than that, and a lawsuit will likely be needed to collect further damages from the at-fault driver.
Parking lot accident liability is just like liability in any other accident. The responsible party for the accident will be held responsible for the damages to the other vehicle and for any injuries that were caused. It is important that fault is determined accurately so that the right party covers the losses.
Working with an attorney will provide you with the resources you need to help establish and prove fault in a parking lot accident. Your attorney will use information from the scene, witness testimony, and expert witnesses if necessary to establish fault in the case.
Once fault has been established, your attorney can begin building a claim for compensation. Your compensation will be based on the injuries and damages that you received as a result of the parking lot accident.