Who Is at Fault for a Parking Lot Car Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on December 20, 2022

Accidents that occur in parking lots can result in a confusing aftermath, with individuals often pointing the finger at one another to assign blame. However, it is important to examine these incidents from a logical standpoint to determine who is at fault. Here, we want to review some basic information about parking lot right of way and fault through various scenarios.

Parking Lot Car Accident Liability

How Parking Lot Accidents Occur

Accidents can occur in parking lots in a variety of ways. A parking lot is one of the rare areas where it is normal to have both vehicle traffic as well as pedestrian and bicycle traffic together on a regular basis. These are areas of constant congestion, with small lanes and vehicles going forward and in reverse. Pedestrians cross through parking lots, usually, with no regard for where a crosswalk may actually exist. This can all create significant confusion for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Vehicles traveling through parking lots are required to yield to pedestrians. This includes pedestrians walking towards the building or coming out of a building, or walking through the individual parking lot aisles. Pedestrians do not necessarily have to be in a crosswalk in order to have the right of way in a parking lot. 

Drivers backing out of a parking space must yield to other vehicles already in the lane behind them or pedestrians also in the lane. Additionally, drivers inside a parking lane are required to yield the right of way to traffic in the main lane surrounding the parking lot, which can include an overall loop around the parking lot or the main roadways.

Determining Fault After a Vehicle Crash

Determining fault after a parking lot collision can be difficult but not impossible. In general, drivers who are operating their vehicles in reverse will be at fault if they strike another vehicle or pedestrian. Of course, if two vehicles going in reverse strike one another, this could result in a shared fault scenario. Typically, the vehicle that begins reversing first has the right of way.

If a vehicle inside of a parking lane strikes a vehicle that is on a main roadway or the main lane around the parking lot, it is likely that the vehicle inside the parking lane aisle will be responsible for the collision. 

Anytime a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle in a parking lot, it is likely that the driver will be responsible unless the pedestrian’s gross negligence or intentional actions caused the incident.

It is crucial to determine fault for these scenarios so that victims can recover compensation for their losses. In these scenarios, it is essential to call law enforcement and ask if they will come to the scene to document the incident. For minor parking lot collisions, there is a chance that law enforcement officials may not be able to go to the scene. Regardless, those involved can use their cell phones to take pictures of the entire area, including damage to vehicles, injuries, debris or skid marks, and the area surrounding the incident. Insurance information for both parties must be exchanged.

It is crucial to get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses written down so they can give statements to insurance carriers or to a personal injury jury if a trial becomes necessary. We encourage parking lot accident victims to speak to a skilled vehicle accident attorney. An accident lawyer in Atlanta may be able to gather additional evidence, including parking lot surveillance footage, to help prove liability for the incident.

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