Parking lots can be more dangerous than you might expect even though the traffic typically moves along much slower. When a collision does occur, it can be challenging to identify the liable party since the right-of-way isn’t always clear. This article will explain why it’s crucial to recognize which driver might have caused an accident, and we’ll also look into how to see who might be liable.
Right-of-Way in a Parking Lot
Parking lots are often set up with parking lanes on the edges through driving lanes circling the perimeter. Typically, right-of-way belongs to the cars driving in the through lanes in the parking lot.
The drivers preparing to pull out of their parking spot have to yield to the through lane drivers. Otherwise, they risk crashing into the through traffic, and it would probably be their fault if a collision occurred. However, if the driver in the through lane had a yield or a stop sign, then the cars pulling out of the parking spaces have the right-of-way.
Entering and Exiting Parking Spaces
Accidents commonly take place when two cars are pulling out of parking places at the same time. “When two cars reverse simultaneously, liability can be complicated to determine because both motorists were under the legal obligation to be reasonably safe before backing into traffic,” explains Bill Pintas, a car accident lawyer.
If one car begins to back up and another driver notices, the driver who sees the potential danger should wait until the first car is out of the way. Otherwise, if they hit the other vehicle that had already begun to leave, the second driver will probably be held at fault.
Importance of Determining Liability
Figuring out which party is responsible for a collision is imperative after an accident. Car insurance providers will only pay for personal injuries and vehicle damage to the degree (i.e., percentage,) that the collision was the fault of the other driver(s), i.e., they’re insured.
You should not admit fault at the accident scene. An accident typically triggers strong emotions and a statement such as, “Oh, it was 100% my fault, I am so sorry,” can be based on incomplete information and might very well be wrong. You are well-advised to remain silent as to how the accident happened or your reflexive conclusion that you are at fault. If police come to the scene and question you, simply give them factual answers to their specific questions, for example, “what direction we’re heading just before the impact?” and don’t launch into a narrative. Your greatest priority should be to get out of harm’s way and obtain such emergency medical treatment as may be needed. The process of allocating fault and liability can begin to unfold in the days following the accident when you consult a car accident lawyer.
In summary, it can be hard to recognize the liable party in a parking lot collision. However, all parties must drive safely and need to be on the lookout for other cars at all times. A general rule of thumb is that if two drivers are exiting a parking space or parking lot at the same time, the one who began to leave first or the driver in the through lane has the right-of-way.