Parking lots are unique places where those frequenting them have likely been both a hurried driver and a distracted pedestrian at one time or another. There’s a lot going on in a parking lot: cars coming and going, drivers pulling in and out of parking spaces, pedestrians walking to and from business establishments, sometimes in the path of oncoming vehicles.
Although cars typically move more slowly in parking lots, drivers are also distracted (looking for that perfect spot, no doubt), traveling unpredictably in all directions, weaving back and forth, and generally putting other motorists and pedestrians at risk. Not surprisingly, the Washington Post reports that more than one in five motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots.
Parking Lot Accident Procedure
If you’re involved in a parking lot accident, either as a motorist or pedestrian, there are certain steps you should take as soon as possible:
- Remove the cars from the accident scene into a safer location, or if they cannot be moved, turn on your emergency flashers and exit the vehicle.
- Check for injuries, and call for medical assistance if necessary.
- Call the police and your insurance company to report the accident.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved.
- Note the time, date, location, weather conditions, parking lot conditions, and another other important details.
- Take pictures of the scene, the damage, and the injuries sustained if possible.
- Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
- If you or someone else has been seriously injured, consider speaking with an accident attorney.
Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
Establishing fault in a parking lot accident can be extremely challenging, and for this reason, if you are injured, calling an attorney might be advisable. Because parking lots are typically on private property where the rules of the road don’t apply, the police might not investigate or complete a report on a parking lot accident. It generally comes down to one person’s word against the other, and insurance companies usually split the fault equally, regardless of who may have actually been to blame.