Parking lots, with their constant movement and activity, are often the scene of minor accidents. Understanding who is at fault for a parking lot accident and what to do can be afterward complex.
Who’s at Fault in Parking Lot Accidents?
Fault in parking lot accidents usually hinges on two factors: the movement of the cars involved and the right-of-way. Generally, the driver of a moving vehicle is held responsible if the other vehicle is legally parked or stationary.
Right-of-way is another key factor in determining liability. Drivers in main lanes that lead to an exit typically have the right-of-way over those in lanes leading to parking spots.
Typical Parking Lot Accident Scenarios
Here are some common scenarios for parking lot accidents and the likely party at fault.
- If both drivers are reversing out of parking spaces simultaneously, both are expected to watch for other vehicles, and both could be held liable in a collision.
- If a driver reversing out of a parking space hits a moving vehicle in a traffic lane, the driver in the traffic lane has the right-of-way. The reversing driver would likely be held primarily responsible for the accident.
- If a driver moving forward out of a parking space hits a moving vehicle in a traffic lane, the driver in the traffic lane has the right-of-way. Both drivers could share liability, but the driver moving out of the parking space is likely to bear most of the responsibility.
Legal Responsibilities in Indianapolis
As per Indiana Code 9-26-1-1.1, the driver at fault must stop immediately and provide their contact and insurance information to the other driver. If there are injuries, it’s crucial that the police are informed it’s an injury accident and that any victims receive medical care as soon as possible.
In Indianapolis, drivers are required by Indiana law to report any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. If injuries are involved, you should call 9-1-1 and inform the police so that medical assistance can be provided.
If a driver hits an unoccupied car, he or she must take reasonable steps to find and notify the vehicle’s owner. If the owner cannot be found, the driver must contact the police.
Parking Lot Accident Statistics
Parking lots are common accident sites in the US. One in every five motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots, and 14% of all auto damage claims involve parking lot collisions.
Approximately 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries result from parking lot accidents in the United States each year. On average, 20% of all auto accidents occur in parking lots.
Preventing parking lot accidents is crucial. Here are some safety tips for drivers:
- Stay in lanes and avoid cutting across lots.
- Drive slowly and use directional signals.
- Anticipate the actions of other drivers.
- Obey stop signs and no-parking signs.
- When backing out, be mindful of vehicles and pedestrians.
- Watch for small children and parents with baby strollers.
- Limit distractions inside your car.
- Watch out for obstacles outside your car.
- Use your mirrors effectively, but don’t rely solely on them.
Legal Procedures After Parking Lot Accidents
After a “reportable” accident, each driver is required to complete and submit the Operator’s Proof of Insurance/Crash Report within 10 days. The purpose of this report is to verify that each driver involved in an accident had state-mandated insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
If there are injuries, however, it is imperative that police are aware it is an injury accident and that any victims get medical care as soon as possible.
Call Our Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers Today
Parking lots can be challenging to navigate, and accidents are not uncommon. However, understanding the rules and your legal obligations can help you handle these situations more effectively.