Although parking lot accidents usually occur at lower speeds than other roadway collisions, these incidents can still cause serious injuries and property damage. However, parking lot crashes can also make for difficult civil cases since liability is often contested.
It is important to get experienced legal counsel after any car wreck that causes injuries, even ones that may seem minor at first. The attorneys at Smith Hulsey have handled many parking lot accidents in Gainesville and could advise you on seeking compensation for your losses.
The biggest difference between parking lot accidents and other types of traffic collisions are that parking lots are private property. Any other roadway is typically public, so there is a public duty for an officer to investigate the scene and ensure that everyone is safe. In typical roadway accidents, the officer has an obligation to try to determine who is at fault, if it can be determined based on evidence at the scene.
Although certain government-owned parking lots are public property, most are privately owned by a homeowner or business. There is not much of an obligation for an officer to investigate accidents on private property, which can create issues in terms of getting insurance coverage or pursuing a civil claim. These cases are more likely to rely on witnesses to determine liability, since there are often other vehicles or pedestrians in the parking lot.
The general rule for parking lots is that a driver should be going slowly enough to be able to stop at a moment’s notice. Additionally, drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians at all times in the parking lot and keep an eye out for other vehicles.
However, these general obligations to drive slowly and remain watchful can make it challenging to determine exactly who is at fault when a crash occurs. Everyone typically claims that they were behaving responsibly, and these accidents can involve multiple drivers and pedestrians, making it even more difficult to determine liability.
Contributory negligence often plays a role in parking lot wrecks, similar to right of way accidents or intersection collisions. Although the default rule is that drivers must yield to those walking in parking lots, certain cases involving erratic pedestrian behavior may involve partial liability.
Additionally, many people now walk around while looking at their cell phones. If a witness testifies that a pedestrian was distracted by their phone and not paying attention to where they were going, the pedestrian is more likely to be found partially negligent for a parking lot accident.
After a parking lot crash on private property, the property owner has the obligation of trying to determine what happened and ensuring that everyone is safe. There is a potential for a claim against the property owner if the parking lot was designed in a dangerous way or was not maintained properly, leading to the wreck. In this scenario, property insurance could play a role in covering a victim’s damages. In any case, the property owner has a duty to document the accident for insurance and liability purposes.
After a pedestrian accident or parking lot collision, it is best to hire an attorney who has handled these types of cases. At Smith Hulsey, our legal team is well-versed in parking lot accidents in Gainesville and are very familiar with how insurance companies view these kinds of claims.
We know how crucial it is to preserve evidence early on, so the sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin helping you build the strongest possible case for compensation. Give us a call today to get started.
Smith Hulsey Law