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accident attorneyParking lot accidents tend to happen at low speeds. As drivers maneuver around the parking lot or try to pull out of parking spaces, they can collide with other vehicles and pedestrians. Because the cars are going so slow, some people wrongly think there is no personal injury case. But the opposite is true.

If motorists fail to use reasonable care, they are legally responsible for hitting someone in a parking lot. Any victim can sue for the full range of compensation, but they should meet with a California personal injury attorney first.

What Are the Most Common Types of Parking Lot Accidents?

Accidents are not unusual in parking lots because of congestion. So many cars are trying to park close to a store and pulling in and out simultaneously. Undoubtedly, crashes are bound to occur.

Some of the more common parking lot accidents include:

  • Rear-end collisions. Cars tend to follow far too closely in parking lots. This gives them less time to stop when the car in front brakes. 
  • T-bones. People forget the right-of-way rules in parking lots, often resulting in side-impact collisions. T-bone accidents often occur because people are in a rush.
  • Head-on collisions. Many head-on crashes happen when cars are going in opposite directions. 
  • Curbside accidents. Many people pull up close to the door to drop off family before finding a place to park. Many stores don’t have space for people to do this. The risk of hitting someone goes way up.
  • Pedestrian accidents. Some motorists don’t use their mirrors as they back out of a spot and never see pedestrians approaching the car. They can quickly slam into them, knocking the pedestrian to the ground.

Why Do Parking Lot Accidents Happen?

Usually, negligence is to blame. Motorists are not driving with care, so they hit another car or a pedestrian. Negligence takes many forms:

  • Failing to check mirrors before backing up
  • Not using the horn to signal you are about to back up
  • Failing to yield
  • Tailgating
  • Driving too fast
  • Texting while driving
  • Driving while intoxicated

In rare cases, the design of the parking lot could be confusing. For example, signs or lines could be missing. Still, drivers should follow well-known traffic safety rules regarding right-of-way, even when signs are missing.

Are Parking Lot Injuries Serious?

They can be. Even a car traveling at low speeds can cause serious injuries. Pedestrians, in particular, can end up in the back of an ambulance because of the impact.

Some of the more serious injuries we see are:

  • Whiplash
  • Fractures
  • Compressed nerves
  • Abrasions like road rash, if the pedestrian skids along the ground
  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Head injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Airbag injuries (if the airbags deploy)

Even a slight jolt to the body can cause serious pain and inconvenience. Of course, the faster a vehicle is going, the more likely a person will suffer a devastating impact.

Can You Be Hit By A Truck In The Parking Lot?

Yes. Many trucks are unloading products at the loading dock. The vehicles are usually very large, with huge blind spots. For example, many truckers can’t see immediately behind the truck. If you cross behind it, you could get run over.

Moreover, many people rent U-Hauls to pick up items to take home. These people rarely understand how to drive a box truck safely, so they can cause accidents.

Truck accidents sometimes stem from poor parking lot design. Loading and unloading areas should be well away from customer footpaths and properly marked. But space is tight in California, and some parking lots resemble free-for-all zoos. 

Do You Have To Call The Police After A Parking Lot Accident?

You should call. Of course, an officer might not come out if there have only been property damages. That’s their choice, given limited police resources. But you should call and report the accident.

In addition to being the law, it’s beneficial to call. A police report can quickly establish the date, time, and location of your crash. This information is helpful when negotiating a personal injury claim.

What’s The First Step To Take After A Parking Lot Accident?

You should immediately stop your vehicle. That’s also the law in California. If you try to leave, you can be charged with attempting to flee the scene of an accident, which is a crime.

You should also swap personal information with the other driver. If you hit an unattended vehicle, you should try to find the owner. Failing that, you should leave your contact information in a conspicuous place.

Can You Sue The Store Owner For A Parking Lot Accident?

Probably not. But you might if there is a parking lot defect contributing to your accident. For example, a gigantic pothole might temporarily cause a motorist to lose control of their car. Consequently, they clip a pedestrian and cause a broken hip. In this situation, the entity that owns the parking lot could be partially responsible for the crash.

Does Insurance Cover Parking Lot Accidents?

Yes. If a driver is at fault for the accident, you can submit a claim to their insurer. Drivers in California should have both bodily injury liability and property damage coverage. These policies pay benefits if the driver is at fault for hurting someone.

What If The Driver Who Hit Me Fled The Scene?

You might still make a claim on your uninsured motorist coverage. California insurers must offer this coverage to anyone buying a policy in the state (though you don’t have to buy it). Although you pay the premiums, you can make a claim for a hit and run. You might still need to meet with an attorney for help. Some uninsured motorist carriers try to deny claims.

Getting The Help You Need After A California Car Accident

A low-speed parking lot accident can have big repercussions. Many people are in extreme pain, making it hard to advocate for themselves. We can help. A car accident lawyer at Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC can review your case. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.