According to the National Safety Council (NSC), tens of thousands of crashes happen in parking lots and garage structures each year, leading to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. The numbers annually amount to around 60,000 people injured in parking lot crashes and another 500 people killed.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, whether in a parking lot or on a roadway, you could be entitled to compensation for the associated costs and damages. Working with a Florida car accident lawyer from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath is the best way to protect your rights after an accident.
The dangers and resulting injuries from motor vehicle accidents vary widely between parking lots and highways, but in either case, when they are caused by someone or something else, you could be entitled to compensation.
Highways Are the Most Dangerous Crash Sites, But Parking Lots Are the Most Common
When vehicles are traveling at high speeds and collide, the potential for experiencing serious injury and death is significant. You might think parking lot accidents are less serious due to slower speeds, but that’s not always the case.
Backing out of parking spots can lead to significant dangers for other vehicles and pedestrians alike, which we’ll discuss below.
Parking lots accidents are especially common due to the high level of congestion, and also constant movement of vehicles, in the confined spaces of parking lots. One of the most common types of parking lot accidents happens when two drivers back their vehicles into one another.
Modern cars come with side and rear view mirrors, but blindspots are somewhat inevitable in parking lots. When people rely solely on cameras on don’t check their mirrors, back-up accidents can occur.
Another common parking lot accident that can lead to potential vehicle repairs, medical costs, and lost earnings at work is when a driver pulls out of a parking spot in front of another vehicle.
In a crowded parking lot, it can be difficult to see other cars moving about when trying to back up. The popularity of large trucks and SUVs in parking lots can make drivers of normal-sized vehicles basically blind when they are pulling out of a spot when parked between larger vehicles.
Cars moving about parking lots are also often in a hurry, reducing their time to react if a car pulls out of a spot in front of them.
Pedestrians Are at Far Greater Risk in Parking Lots
A study funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2007 found that there were more than 5,000 injuries to pedestrians as a result of cars pulling into or backing out of parking spots.
Significantly, the NSC found that 9% of all pedestrian deaths in parking lots were due to collisions involving vehicles backing up, so the consequences are serious.
To protect pedestrian safety, the NSC suggests that drivers:
- Conduct a 360-degree walk around your vehicle before backing out of a spot, watching out for low-lying objects that could be run over
- Not rely on backup cameras, which can leave out a field of vision; instead, look over your shoulder and use mirrors to back up
- To pull through a parking space upon arrival to avoid having to back up altogether.
The dangers in parking lots to pedestrians also include dangerous road conditions, and a lack of road signs to direct drivers around the lot. Collisions increase when drivers ignore organized traffic flow, as does the danger to pedestrians.
Traffic Laws are Enforceable on Roadways, Not Parking Lots
When a driver causes an accident because they violated traffic laws, they can be held liable for any damages that result from the accident. For example, if a driver makes the decision to illegally drive drunk, causes an accident, and injures someone, resulting in damages, the drunk driver is liable.
When it comes to accidents in parking lots, many of which are private property, traffic laws are not enforceable. Stop at any Wal-Mart or local supercenter and look around for security officers with radar devices, and property owners prepared to enforce whatever traffic rules might be posted in the lot.
You’ll not see any such radar devices or other traffic management measures in place, which is what makes parking lots so dangerous. There is no enforcement or penalty for infractions.
Drivers in parking lots aren’t subject to traffic laws, they must still drive safely and responsibly. If a driver is violates their duty to drive carefully and attentively, and this causes an injury in a parking lot accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages.
A leading cause of accidents in parking lots is distracted driving. When a driver is engaging in any activity while driving that manually, mentally, or physically impairs their driving, they’re liable for the damages as though the accident were on a roadway, since distracted driving is illegal.
In order to collect compensation for your parking lot accident, however, you’ll need to prove that another party was negligent and, therefore, liable for your damages. Working with an attorney ensures that sufficient evidence is collected to put together the best possible case in your favor.
Hit in a parking lot? We can help.
The Florida car accident lawyers from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath are standing by to provide your initial risk-free, cost-free assessment.
We’ll collect some basic information, discuss the circumstances of the incident, and determine if we can help on your case. For more information, call us at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help.