Who Is at Fault in a Parking Lot Accident in Alabama?August 10, 2021
- 1. Factors to Consider When Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Crash
- 2. What Should You Do After a Parking Lot Accident?
- 3. Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys for Your Free Consultation Today
Many parking lot accidents can sometimes seem like more of an annoyance than a true problem. Your vehicles swap a little paint, maybe acquire a few dents or scratches, but both parties are fine. Fortunately, in many cases, that’s the end of it.
However, don’t assume that a low-speed parking lot collision can’t cause serious damage—not only to your vehicle, but its occupants as well. Sometimes the true extent of an injury isn’t apparent until long after you’ve left the scene.
If you’ve been hurt in a parking lot accident, establishing fault is an important first step toward getting the compensation you deserve. Other drivers, or even the owner of the parking lot itself, may be held at least partly liable.
Factors to Consider When Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Crash
Determining fault in parking lot accidents is often more challenging than accidents on public roads, especially if there is no police report documenting the crash, or no evidence from the time of the accident.
That’s why you should always connect with an experienced parking lot accident attorney as early as possible in the process. A lawyer can help you collect and preserve evidence (including security camera footage, if it exists), determine who is responsible for your damages, and fight for fair compensation.
Common factors that are considered when determing fault in parking lot cases include:
Who Has the Right of Way
In a typical parking lot situation, a vehicle traveling in a through lane has the right of way over vehicles that are pulling out of spaces. If you were struck by a driver who wasn’t looking while leaving a parking space, they were likely at fault—unless you failed to obey a stop or yield sign.
Things get a little trickier if cars on opposite sides of a lane back out at the same time and strike one another. Determining fault in these cases can be difficult, especially if it’s unclear which driver began backing out first. Do not assume that you are at fault simply because you were backing out, and do not admit fault before receiving sound legal advice.
Cases of Driver Negligence
Even though the driver in the through lane normally has the right of way, they may still be held liable if they made any negligent or reckless choices, such as:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving at an excessive rate of speed
- Distracted driving (texting, eating, etc.)
- Not using their headlights in poorly lit conditions
- Driving without prescription glasses (if they need them)
Negligence on the Part of the Parking Lot Owner
In Alabama, the owner of the parking lot has a legal obligation to make their property safe for traffic. The property owner could be at least partially responsible if they failed to make sure their parking is safe. Examples of unsafe conditions include:
- Poor lighting conditions
- Improperly maintained pavement
- Confusing or insufficient signage
- Dangerous blind spots
- Unmarked concrete wheel stops
- Lack of security cameras
RELATED: How to Protect Yourself From Common Parking Lot Injuries and Car Accidents
What Should You Do After a Parking Lot Accident?
Even though parking lot accidents typically take place on private property rather than public roads, you should still go through all the same steps you would go through for any other type of accident:
- Remain calm. The first few moments after an accident can be extremely emotional. While this is normal, you want to keep a clear head so that you have the presence of mind to gather the information you need.
- Check for injuries. Don’t underestimate seemingly minor aches and pains. Sometimes the full severity of an injury won’t become apparent for days or even weeks after the crash.
- Call 911. According to Alabama law, you must call the police if a crash results in any injury. You must also file an accident report with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency if anyone is injured or there’s at least $500 in property damage. The smart decision is to always file a police report, even if there’s no obvious injury or damage to property. If it turns out the effects of the crash were more serious than they first appeared, you’ll be glad you have it.
- Gather evidence. Get as much information as you can, including pictures or video of the crash scene, debris, skid marks, license plate number of the other vehicle, contact info for the other driver, eyewitness statements, the responding officer’s name, and a case number. Don’t leave the scene or admit fault to anyone. (This includes saying “I’m sorry!”)
RELATED: I Just Had a Car Crash—What Do I Do Now?
Common Questions and Misconceptions
- What if I didn’t file a police report?
A police report can be an extremely important piece of evidence that strengthens your case. However, failure to obtain one does not necessarily mean that you cannot make an insurance claim or sue the other driver—or that they cannot do the same to you. This is why it’s so important to obtain evidence yourself at the scene.
- What if I thought I wasn’t hurt, but discover injuries later?
This happens much more frequently than you might expect. The effects of adrenaline and emotion can cause you to overlook early symptoms, while other injuries (such as concussions or many kinds of soft tissue injuries) may not fully reveal themselves for days or even weeks afterward.
It’s always a good idea to seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident for any symptoms you are dealing with—even minor ones. However, even if you don’t see a doctor for days or even weeks afterward, make sure you talk to them about the crash and make sure they document how your symptoms are connected to it, and how they might evolve over time.
Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys for Your Free Consultation Today
Parking lot injuries are extremely common, and our firm has fought and won for people just like you. You may be entitled to far more than the insurance company is offering you—if they’ve even offered you anything at all.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a parking lot accident, connect with our team as soon as possible. We can assess your options, provide sound legal advice, take the necessary steps to protect and gather evidence to build your case, and negotiate on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.
Initial consultations for all personal injury cases are always completely free and confidential. Reach out to us at 251-888-8888, or contact us online today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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