About one in every five car accidents happens not at busy intersections, around blind corners, or on highways, but in parking lots. And while many people assume parking lot accidents are always minor because they happen at low speeds, this isn’t true. The National Safety Council estimates that 60,000 people are injured in collisions in parking lots and parking garages every year, and 500 people or more are killed.

And since we’re in the holiday season, more people will be visiting big box stores and shopping malls to purchase gifts, which means parking lot accidents are likely to go up. If you or someone you love are injured in a parking lot crash through someone else’s negligence, contact the personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm to learn how we can help you get compensation.

Why Do Parking Lot Accidents Happen?

The number one cause of parking lot accidents is distracted driving. People who would never text and drive while on the highway think nothing of texting and driving while in a parking lot because they assume the stakes and dangers are lower. But parking lots are full of other distracted drivers and pedestrians, especially children who may dart out in front of you, as well as slow-moving older adults who may be behind your car without you realizing it.

Additionally, there are lots of obstacles blocking line of sight in parking lots, and there is likely to be poor lighting conditions. Finally, traffic laws aren’t always enforceable in parking lots because they are considered private property, so people may be more likely to drive recklessly by ignoring stop signs, speed limits, lane markers, and taking off their seatbelts.

About two-thirds of all drivers in parking lots are driving distracted, according to National Safety Council findings.

How drivers are distracted when driving in parking lots:

  • 66% make phone calls
  • 63% input directions into their GPS
  • 58% browse digital music playlists
  • 56% text
  • 52% browse or post to social media
  • 50% send emails
  • 49% take photos
  • 43% browse the internet
  • 42% watch videos

If you need to do any of these tasks, make sure you only do so when you are safely parked in a parking space, and never do so while your vehicle is in motion.

What Kind of Injuries Do Parking Lot Collisions Cause?

When vehicles collide in a parking lot, vehicle occupants can suffer contusions and soft tissue injuries such as whiplash. Drivers and front passengers can also be injured by airbags deploying.

But the people most at risk in parking lot collisions are pedestrians, who can suffer:

  • Broken bones
  • Crushing injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Internal injuries/organ damage
  • Death

When victims are not at fault for their own injuries, they can sue the at-fault drivers to get compensation for their medical bills and other injury-related expenses.

What to Do if You Were Injured in a Parking Lot

  1. Call 911 to bring medical personnel to the scene to treat injuries. Be aware that because parking lots are considered private property, police may not always respond to minor accidents in parking lots to file reports.
  2. Exchange contact information with the other party and any witnesses. Parking lots and garages may also have attendants or security guards who can act as witnesses. If confusing signage or a poorly designed parking lot or garage may have contributed to your crash, you may be able to file a premises liability claim. In this case, you should also get the contact information of the owner of the lot or manager of the store the lot belongs to as well.
  3. If you are able, take pictures of the scene of the collision, and any vehicle damage and injuries.
  4. Determine who was at fault. This last step may need the involvement of a lawyer. If the accident involves two vehicles, but only one was in motion, usually the driver of the moving vehicle is at fault. If the accident involves two vehicles but both were in motion, you will need to determine who had right-of-way. When collisions involve a vehicle and a pedestrian, the driver is usually liable for failing to check if the way was clear before pulling forward or backing up.

If You’ve Been Hit by a Car in the Parking Lot, Call Joye Law Firm

Parking lot accidents can result in severe injuries and even death, so don’t let the insurance company try to pass off your claim as nothing serious or not deserving of compensation. We’ve dealt with these kinds of cases before, and we know how to build a strong claim to get you the full compensation you need to recover your damages.

And at Joye Law Firm, your initial consultation is free. Call today to learn if you have a claim.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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