Parking lots are a common place for car accidents in the United States. About one in five fender benders occur in parking lots. Oftentimes, people unconsciously drive more recklessly when other traffic and pedestrians are moving slowly. The slow moving lull of a parking lot traffic can create a false sense of security for drivers and pedestrians.
Not to mention, pedestrians and drivers are often distracted, adjusting their seatbelts, talking on the phone, texting, fixing their seats, or messing with the radio. Unfortunately, a couple seconds of not paying attention can lead to auto damage and even serious personal injuries.
The most serious injuries in parking lot car accidents occur when a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian. More minor injuries include cuts, bruises, swollen muscles, tendons, or ligaments, and whiplash.
Since parking lots are typically commercial and nonresidential, they don’t have any traffic markings, which can create a free for all. Not to mention, even when businesses do put traffic signs in their parking lot, these signs are ignored, because technically no one is breaking the law.
Commercial parking lot accidents can create liability issues for drivers and pedestrians involved in car accidents. Today, our Orlando personal injury attorney is going to help clear up some of the complications entwined with accidents occurring on commercial lots.
What to Do When You’re in a Parking Lot Accident
When it comes to parking lot car accidents, you should treat it similar to a road accident. Even if the damage appears minor in the beginning, there is still a possibility that someone involved in the accident could be injured or claim an injury.
After an accident, you should never leave the scene of the accident without getting the other driver’s insurance information. Leaving the scene of the crime without an insurance exchange could be considered “not rendering aid to the injured,” which is a crime in most states.
Even if the other driver insists that insurance companies should be excluded from the accident, you should still insist on exchanging information – even if the accident is your fault.
If the other person is seeming to have good intentions, there is the slight possibility that the other person might accept money for damages, then still file a personal injury claim with your insurance company, despite your private payment.
In fact, paying someone for property damages without getting the insurance company involved could be used as proof that you admitted it was your fault.
Call the Police Even When Car Accidents are Minor
Most police won’t respond to parking lot accidents, unless the accident is blocking traffic, or there’s an injury on the scene. When the police do respond to parking lot accidents, they will first check for injuries, then they will write accident reports.
In the report, police will record the names all of the drivers, passengers, and witnesses, as well as insurance information from both of the drivers. Most often, police will draw a small depiction of the scene, showing who was at fault during the accident. You can typically pick up a copy of the report from your local police station after a few days.
In the instance that police do not respond to the scene, you can write your own informal accident report as a reference to your insurance company. It’s also a good idea to take picture of the accident for your records.
How to Decide Who is at Fault
For typical accidents in commercial lots, it will be hard to decide who is at fault. It’s easier to point fingers of who is at fault, when there are no clear traffic signs or dictations of who has the right of way. In instances when you’re dealing with an argumentative or angry pedestrian, we recommend keeping conversation to a minimal and simply collecting names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
At this phase, there should not be any admittance or denial of fault. Allow time to let the steam blow over, so you can think about the accident logically. Coming to an agreement of who is at fault off the bat is not necessary, since your insurance companies should work out the details of who is at fault.
While debating who is at fault isn’t necessary, you should still gather as much information for property and injury claims, or other physical evidence that will clear you of being blamed.
When to Contact an Attorney for Parking Lot Accidents
The severity of damage and your injuries will dictate if you need a lawyer. If the accident is deemed the other driver’s fault, his insurance company will contact you to figure out a settlement for minor injuries, like whiplash, cuts, bruises, or strained muscles.
For more severe personal injuries, like broken bones, head trauma, scars, internal bleeding, organ damage, or other permanent injuries that require hospital visits, we highly recommend contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. At Frank M. Eidson, P.A. in Orlando, we offer a free case review for your first consultation after parking lot accidents.
We can help you gain compensation for all of your injuries, including medical bills, pain and suffering, therapy, lost wages, and other expenses. Call our office today for a free case review at 407-890-0800.