Car accidents account for a lot of damage to vehicles and personal property as well as large numbers of personal injury and even fatalities every year. Accidents can occur on highways, city streets, or in parking lots. Any place where vehicles are moving, there is potential for accidents to occur. When it comes to accidents in parking lots or parking garages, drivers may not think too much about the risks. High-speed accidents on major highways are more attention grabbing and more likely to be deadly, but parking accidents are common enough that drivers should know the risks and how to avoid them.
For those drivers who have been involved in a parking accident, an experienced car accident lawyer is extremely helpful.
How Common are Parking Lot Accidents?
Car accidents in parking lots are quite common. There are several reasons for this. One of the biggest factors is the amount of heavy traffic coming and going and passing through parking lots daily. One thing that works to the driver’s benefit is that traffic typically moves much slower in a parking lot than it would on a city street or highway. This means that damage is likely to be less severe because of the lower speed of impact. This does not, however, mean damage does not occur. Common causes of accidents in a parking lot include cars backing out of parking spaces and colliding with other vehicles and accidents caused by a driver failing to yield to another vehicle or pedestrian.
Dangers of Parking Garages
Parking garages have their own set of hazards. For one thing, they are often less well-lit than outdoor parking. Additionally, the layout of a parking garage can be confusing and may lead to a driver becoming distracted. Narrow driving areas paired with cars frequently backing out also increase the chances of accidents.
Common Causes of Parking Lot and Parking Garage Accidents
Parking lots can be dangerous because there tends to be increased traffic among both vehicles and pedestrians. Additionally, many parking lots lack clear pavement markings, lanes, and signs to keep drivers from hitting each other or a pedestrian. Drivers are also more likely to be distracted in parking lots or garages as they are looking for a space.
Who is Liable in Parking Accidents?
Liability in a parking accident can be complicated as well. In some cases, a driver may be clearly at fault for negligent driving. Sometimes, the property owner could be liable for failing to maintain reasonable safety practices when operating their parking structure. Some cases can be a mix of the above or may have a good amount of gray area. A knowledgeable lawyer can help to determine liability in these cases.
Safety Tips to Avoid Parking Accidents
Parking accidents can lead to significant damage. A driver can easily end up with large repair, medical, or legal bills after such an accident. The best thing to do is to avoid accidents in the first place. Following these tips can help prevent serious damage:
- Remember the parking brake. This is especially important when parked on a steep hill. However, it is a good idea to engage the parking brake even in less perilous looking parking situations. Most vehicles should have reliable brake systems and should stay in park when the engine is off. In some situations, a mechanical malfunction could cause the vehicle to roll. To avoid this, engaging the parking brake is an easy step that can potentially prevent disaster.
- Leave some space for other vehicles. In parking garages and parking lots, paying attention to space around the vehicle is vital. This means making sure to leave enough space in front, behind, and on both sides of the vehicle. Ensuring that there is enough space between vehicles parked next to each other reduces the risk of dents and scratches from car doors as well as improving visibility and making it easier for drivers to get in and out of their spaces without hitting another car. Avoiding parking too close in front of or behind another car prevents fender-benders resulting from misjudgment of space.
- Do not rely completely on backup cameras. Modern vehicles have added a lot of technology that significantly improves safety. One of the greatest developments is the backup camera. This technology allows the driver to see exactly where they are going when backing into a space. However, a backup camera should not be the only means of visualizing while backing up. If the sensors malfunction or something obstructs the backup camera, hazards could be behind the vehicle but not appear on the screen in the car.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Weather is another issue most drivers probably do not think about too much when it comes to parking safety, but it can be a factor. Slick or icy conditions can make accidents more likely in a parking lot, especially when drivers try to turn to pull into a parking space and their vehicle slides. Wind can also be a factor. Drivers can easily find that their car door hits a neighboring car when getting out during a big gust. These factors are even more reason to leave extra space when parking as mentioned above.
What to do After an Accident
After an accident in a parking lot or garage, there are a few important things to remember. First, exchanging information with any other driver involved can be important for insurance and any legal action. Taking pictures of the scene and any damage can be very helpful as well. If possible, getting information from any witnesses, noting any security cameras in the area, and obtaining a police report will also be helpful for filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. If there are damages resulting from the accident, contacting a lawyer may be instrumental to gain compensation.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Victims Involved in Parking Accidents
Parking lot accidents can be dangerous and costly. If you have been involved in this type of accident, it is important that you seek legal advice immediately. The knowledgeable Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova are available to help you through the process, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 732-705-3363 or fill out our online form. Our Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, offices help clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.