Parking Lot Accidents: What You Need to Know

Parking lot accidents and personal injury

Parking lot accidents are considered low-speed collisions but can result in serious injuries. If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

Understanding Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot collisions often occur because drivers are distracted by the thought of arriving at their destination or leaving to travel someplace else. Since they are moving at a lower speed, they can be lulled into a false sense of safety when they should be 100 percent focused on the other cars or pedestrians around them.

Common types of parking lot accidents include:

  • A collision between two vehicles in opposite parking spaces. If two cars hit each other as they are backing out of opposite spaces, they will likely be found equally at fault.
  • A driver turns in front of oncoming car to enter parking space. Drivers are required to allow oncoming traffic time to pass before attempting a turn, so a driver who turns in front of an approaching car to snag a prime parking space will be found at fault.
  • A driver hits a car traveling down the parking lane while backing out. When a driver pulling out of his parking space strikes a car driving down a parking lane, he is almost always 100 percent at fault. Drivers have a duty to look before backing up and will only be excused from full liability if the other party was traveling at an excessively high speed.
  • A driver pulling forward hits a car traveling down the parking lane. Again, the rules of the road give preference to drivers traveling straight. A driver pulling forward out of a parking space will most likely be found at fault if he hits a car driving down the parking lane.
  • Rear-end collision. As with highway accidents, the driver who hits the back of another vehicle is likely at fault. Drivers in a parking lot are expected to be alert for others who are making sudden stops.
  • A driver runs into a pedestrian. Pedestrians are found in many areas of a parking lot and drivers have a duty to be observant to those pedestrians.  Unless the pedestrian is truly negligent, the driver will have responsibility to keep a careful lookout for pedestrians in all directions.

Common Types of Injuries From Parking Lot Accidents

Although parking lot collisions tend to be low-speed accidents, they can still create a significant financial burden for injured drivers or passengers. Common parking lot accident injuries include:

  • Cuts and scrapes, some of which may require stitches
  • Sprains and strains, which could leave the injured person temporarily unable to work or suffering from pain that interferes with daily activities
  • Whiplash, which occurs when the neck snaps forward due to the force of impact—much like how you would crack a whip
  • Airbag-related injuries, including abrasions, broken facial bones, burns on the chest or upper extremities, eye injury, or ear trauma
  • Pedestrian injuries, including injuries to feet, knees, hips, back, etc.

Slow speeds still have cars traveling at some distances within just a few seconds.  Here is a sampling of slow speeds and distances:

MPH            FEET PER SECOND

  1.            1.47
  2.            2.93
  3.            4.4
  4.            5.87
  5.            7.33
  6.            8.8
  7.            10.27
  8.            11.73
  9.            13.2
  10.            14.67

Pedestrians struck at these speeds can cause serious injuries.

It is important to keep in mind that your body receives a rush of adrenaline whenever you are involved in a sudden unexpected event like an auto accident. This adrenaline rush can temporarily mask the symptoms of an injury. Even if you feel fine, you should always be evaluated by a healthcare professional after an auto accident as a precautionary measure. If you experience problems at a later date, this ensures that you have documentation linking your injuries to the crash

Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries

California law allows you up to two years to file a personal injury claim for accident-related injuries. You can receive compensation for medical expenses as well as lost wages and pain and suffering. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, you are still entitled to compensation from the other driver if that driver has some degree of fault for the collision. However, your damages will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

Hiring a personal injury attorney to advocate for your needs will help ensure that you receive the maximum possible compensation. Your attorney can line up any needed evidence to support your claim and negotiate with the other driver's insurance company on your behalf, leaving you free to focus on moving forward with your life.

Inland Empire Law Group’s experienced legal team is well-equipped to help you resolve personal injury claims from parking lot accidents. Please call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation at either our Rancho Cucamonga or Victorville locations.