Though a lot is said about car crashes and hit-and-run mishaps, parking lot accidents are equally common. Such accidents happen a lot during the holiday shopping season for very obvious reasons. And being laid up with injuries, unexpected medical bills and damages over the holidays can be distressing for anyone. Fortunately, you can claim compensation for your injuries, damage and suffering in a parking lot accident, just as in any other road wreck. Still, there are some facts that you should know about the legal treatment of such mishaps to successfully claim the compensation you deserve.
Parking lot traffic rules
Since a majority of parking lots are private property, they are seldom subject to state traffic laws. The police may not investigate every fender-bender but you can still expect the general road rules to work in your favor. Here are the common rules that every vehicle owner should follow in parking lots:
- Obey all Stop and Yield signs
- Follow the right-of-way in the access lane
- Yield to traffic on the access lane when in feeder lane
- When in feeder lanes, drivers have the right-of-way over vehicles leaving a parking space
- Yield to vehicles and pedestrians in the feeder lane when leaving a parking space
Access lanes are the ones that lead in and out of the parking lot while feeder lanes are the ones running up and down the rows of the parking spaces. If an accident happens when someone flouts these rules, they can be held liable.
Handling a parking lot accident
Although a parking lot accident sounds different from a road crash, it can be as serious when it comes to damage. Your vehicle can suffer extensive damage and you may sustain injuries too, all because of the negligence of a careless driver. For this reason, car accident lawyers recommend that you handle them carefully and follow the same set of rules that you would in a conventional accident. Here is what you should do to make a solid case against the guilty driver.
Call 911: Calling 911 should be your top priority after an accident, even if it happens in a parking lot. If injured, request someone else to do it for you. Describe your location and inform the dispatcher about your injuries and potential dangers such as leaking fuel or blocked traffic. The police may not come over immediately if there is minor property damage but they will be there if you have injuries.
Get driver’s information: It would be wise to note down the contact details and insurance information of the at-fault driver because this would serve when you file a claim later. Take pictures of the damage so that you have valid evidence. Getting witness details is also a good idea.
Opt for medical evaluation: A medical evaluation right at the accident spot not only helps you address your injuries but also get you evidence for filing the claim. It is vital to record every single injury for the sake of evidence, no matter how major or minor it is. Not getting treatment can weaken your case because the insurance company will argue that the injuries did not happen at the accident spot.
Finally consulting a car accident attorney is vital for taking the claim in the right direction. Make sure that you don’t apologize or say anything to admit fault because it can be used against you.