A man and a woman stand and point at their cars that have collided

Determining Liability in a Parking Lot Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident tends to be nuanced with several factors involved that determine liability. So what happens when you get into an accident in a parking lot?

Keep reading to learn the answer.

Parking Lot Car Accidents

Luckily, when most car accidents occur in parking lots, drivers aren’t traveling particularly quickly. Since the speeds tend to be low, that means damages also tend to be relatively mild.

However, determining the right-of-way in parking lots can be a bit of a challenge. Cars are going and coming from every direction, which can make determining liability in a parking lot accident even more difficult.

Right-Of-Way Rules in Parking Lots

A typical parking lot has several lanes with parked cars on both sides, in addition to through lanes around the lot’s boundary, where vehicles enter the parking area.

Generally, the vehicles driving in the through lanes have the right-of-way. That means the drivers approaching the through lanes from the parking lanes must yield to those in the through lanes.

For example, if a driver pulls into a through lane as an attempt to exit a parking lane and subsequently collides with a car in the through lane, the driver in the vehicle exiting the parking lane will likely be held liable.

However, liability can change if the driver in the through lane failed to obey a “STOP” or “YIELD” sign that provides right-of-way to the driver leaving the parking lanes.

Pulling In and Out of Parking Spots

While accidents do happen in parking lots’ through lanes and parking lanes, collisions also tend to occur when multiple vehicles are pulling out of spots on opposite sides of the same parking lane. These collisions can be a little trickier to deal with for determining liability.

Under the legal doctrine of negligence, all drivers have a responsibility to make sure that it’s reasonably safe to drive into the lane of travel before taking action.

The first vehicle to begin pulling out of the parking space should have the right-of-way. That means the vehicle on the opposite side should take reasonable care to avoid colliding with the vehicle that’s already started pulling out.

However, it’s not always easy to tell which vehicle started pulling out of the parking space first. These “simultaneous backup” situations appear to be the most common parking lot accidents that occur. This doesn’t mean you’re automatically at fault if you backed into another vehicle while pulling out of your parking space. Liability may be distributed equitably between all parties involved.

If you’re involved in a parking lot accident or any sort of car accident that causes you to sustain injuries, our attorneys may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait—contact us with your case right away.

Contact our attorneys at ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP at (601) 265-6869 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.