One of every five motor vehicle accidents take place in a parking lot, and 14% of all claims for auto damage involve collisions therein. Even worse, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, estimates that 22% (more that one-fifth) of children, between the ages of 5 and 9, killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Most of these accidents occurred because drivers failed to see the children while backing up. Some of the reasons why parking lots are especially dangerous to drivers and pedestrians include:
- When a driver pulls “head in” into a parking space, they must back out. This makes it more difficult for a motorist to see if there is an obstacle or pedestrian when pulling out of the space;
- Drivers tend to focus more on finding a space than on other drivers and pedestrians that might cross their paths;
- Small parking spaces and crowded lots pose greater risk because it means higher car and pedestrian traffic;
- Traffic laws cannot be fully enforced on all parking areas as many of these paved spaces are considered private property. Without traffic laws, some drivers can get reckless, increasing their chances of being involved in an accident;
- A poorly maintained parking area is a death trap. Uneven surfaces, a huge pile of snow and ice, and lighting fixtures with dim bulbs can all increase vehicle accident risks.
Parking lot accidents are essentially no different from accidents on the road. While initially the damage may appear to be minor, the possibility always remains that someone may have injuries, or at lease claim injuries. If you are involved in a crash, protect yourself. Never leave the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information with the other driver. Look for witnesses and photograph the accident scene with your cell phone or camera. Many commercial parking lots have surveillance cameras which may or have recorded the accident real time as it happened.
Now that many of the Covid 19 restrictions have been lifted, people are out shopping again and the parking lots are full, so be especially careful.
If you have been involved in a parking lot accident, find out what your rights are and call the experienced attorneys at the law firm of Bell & Pollock for a “Legal Game Plan” to protect your interest.