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Be Aware of the All-Too-Common Parking Lot Accident

How to Avoid a Parking Lot Accident!

Driving these days can be a bit scary. With handheld devices in just about every hand, many drivers are distracted every time they get behind the wheel by more than just everyday occurrences that happen on the road. For this reason, it’s imperative that you stay focused and pay close attention to your surroundings when driving. Even in the parking lot. 

Many of us don’t consider parking lot accidents to be serious, relevant, or common. But that’s not the case. Parking lot accidents occur more often than you may think because generally, people think there’s very little risk while driving slowly in a parking lot or pulling in or out of a parking space. When we feel over-confident, our guard goes down. 

Parking Lot Safety

When thinking about unsafe areas to drive, you probably think about busy roads, highways with fast driving vehicles of all sizes, and pedestrian-heavy intersections. Because we’re usually driving relatively slowly in parking lots, we tend to think we’re safe. That way of thinking can actually contribute to a lack of safety in the parking lot. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 20% of all accidents occur in parking lots. While many of the accidents involving vehicles only aren’t very serious, they cost money, time, and convenience. However, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the stakes are higher. In the vast majority of cases, the driver is at fault and the accident could have been avoided.


Common parking lot accidents: vehicle-on-vehicle

  1. When two vehicles back into each other both drivers may be liable. 
  2. When two vehicles collide as one is backing out of a parking spot and the other is driving in the parking aisle, both may share liability, however, the car pulling out of the parking spot will likely be at fault.
  3. When two cars driving into the same parking spot collide, both drivers will be held responsible in most cases, however, the driver turning left into the space may be held accountable since driving rules tell us to yield to those headed straight or turning right. 
  4. When a vehicle rear-ends another vehicle in the parking lot, the moving vehicle will be responsible in most cases.


Common parking lot accidents: vehicle-on-pedestrian 

  1. When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian while the vehicle is moving forward.
  2. When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian while the vehicle is moving backward.
  3. When the car is left unattended and not parked safely or properly and the car rolls or drives into a pedestrian.


How to avoid parking lot accidents of any kind

So, how can you do your very best to avoid a parking lot accident? Pay attention. Be responsible and respectful of other drivers and pedestrians, and continue checking your mirrors and blind spots until you’re safely and completely out of your spot or out of the parking lot. 

Keep in mind that getting that closer parking spot is NOT worth the aggravation of an accident. Also, children are small, you may not see them running behind your car, so be uber-aware of what’s happening all around you, especially when backing out of a spot.

Keep your hands off your phones and your eyes on the road at all times while driving. Move slowly whether moving forward or backing up. Distracted driving is going to catch up with you at some point, you may be the victim, you may be the offender, either way if you drive while distracted, you’re breaking the law. 

If possible for you, parking further away from other cars and people is always a smart move. After you park your car, you’re a pedestrian, so you need to also be responsible and pay attention to your surroundings. If you have children, hold them by the hand and remind them of parking lot safety. 


Parking Lot Accident Liability 

If you have been involved in or injured in a parking lot accident, you can determine who’s at fault by answering these questions:

•   Was my car moving when the accident occurred? Usually, the moving car will be at fault.

•   Did I have the right of way? If both cars are moving, whichever had the right of way will usually not be liable.

•   Did I hit a pedestrian or a vehicle? In most cases, the pedestrian will have the right of way.

•   Did I hit a legally parked vehicle? If you hit a legally parked car, you will most likely be the guilty party.  

Parking lot accidents are easily avoidable, just like most car accidents, if the driver is paying close attention to what’s happening around him/her. Don’t be fooled into thinking there aren’t many risks while driving in the parking lot so you don’t need to be vigilant. Every time you get behind the wheel, it’s your duty to keep your safety and the safety of those around you in mind. 

In some cases, the driver(s) may not be held accountable at all for their parking lot collision. If the property owner has not kept his lot safe, hazard-free, and well signed, the property owner may be at fault. Let an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney help investigate your claim and determine if you have the right to seek damages. 

The personal injury attorneys at Hull & Zimmerman will be on your side if you believe you have fallen victim to unsafe conditions in a parking lot, whether by the property owner or another driver. Call us and let’s discuss how we can get you the compensation you deserve. 

Proudly serving North Denver, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, Commerce City, Arvada, and Broomfield.


At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., we are honored to help accident victims in their time of need, and take our responsibility as personal injury lawyers incredibly seriously. We know how important it is for victims to secure the full and fair compensation they need following a serious accident, and that is why we take a hands-on, personalized approach to every case we handle.

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