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Parking Lot Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Car Accidents, Firm News

Parking lots are a common location for accidents to occur. With so many cars in a confined space, it is not surprising that many drivers make mistakes while navigating through these lots.  When an accident occurs, determining fault can be a challenge.

If you were involved in a parking lot accident in Naperville, Illinois, or surrounding areas, our attorneys at Marker & Crannell can help. We have the resources to investigate your accident, help you identify liable parties, and file a claim for compensation for property damage and injuries.

As skilled personal injury attorneys, we proudly serve Naperville, Aurora, Joliet, Woodridge, Lisle, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Wheaton, and Plainfield.

Common Accidents in Parking Lots

Parking lot accidents are not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, the National Safety Council states that there are tens of thousands of collisions in parking lots every year. Some parking lot accidents are more common than others:

1. Backing Into a Parked Vehicle

This is one of the most common accidents in parking lots. When backing out of a parking spot, it can be difficult to see vehicles passing by or parked behind you.

2. Pulling Out in Front of a Vehicle

Another common mishap in parking lots is when a driver pulls out in front of another vehicle. These accidents can be especially dangerous at high speeds or when the vehicle has the right of way.

3. Two Vehicles Back Up Into Each Other

This is a classic case of two drivers not looking behind them while backing out of their spots. Sometimes one car is backing out, while the other is trying to enter the same spot, which can lead to a collision.

4. Two Vehicles Trying to Get Into the Same Spot

Another common parking lot accident is when two drivers are vying for the same spot. This can lead to fender benders or even more significant damage to the vehicles.

5. Failing to Yield the Right of Way

Many drivers assume that they have the right of way or that other drivers will slow down and give them the right of way. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it can lead to preventable collisions and injuries.

Right of Way Rules

The determination of fault in a parking lot accident is based on who disobeyed the right-of-way rules.

1. Vehicles in Feeder Lanes Have the Right of Way Over Vehicles in Parking Spaces

In parking lots, the right of way is determined based on the location of the vehicles and the flow of traffic. Vehicles in parking spaces must always yield the right of way to vehicles in feeder lanes. However, vehicles in feeder lanes must always yield to those in the through lane.

2. Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way

In a parking lot, pedestrians always have the right of way. This means that drivers must always yield to pedestrians, regardless of whether they are walking in a crosswalk or not. This is especially important to remember when backing out of a parking spot—pedestrians can be difficult to see, so drivers need to be extra careful and always check their surroundings before proceeding.

3. Vehicles Should Yield to Vehicles on the Right

When two cars are approaching each other in a parking lot, the vehicle on the right has the right of way. This means that the vehicle on the left must wait until the other car has passed before they proceed. This rule also applies to vehicles that are backing out of parking spots—if two vehicles are backing out at the same time and are about to collide, the vehicle on the right has the right of way and should proceed first.

4. Stop Signs and Yield Signs Apply in Parking Lots

Many parking lots have stop signs and yield signs in different areas to help control traffic flow and prevent accidents. It is important to always obey these signs and to come to a complete stop at stop signs before proceeding.

5. Do Not Speed

Driving too fast in a parking lot is not only dangerous, but also illegal. Most parking lots have a speed limit of 10-15 miles per hour, which is much slower than regular roads. It is critical for drivers to follow these speed limits and stay aware of their surroundings at all times in order to prevent accidents.

Who’s at Fault When a Parking Lot Accident Occurs?

Each parking lot accident is unique, which is why the at-fault party depends on the facts of the case and how the collision occurred. The following parties may be at fault when a parking lot accident occurs:

  • One of the car drivers. In most cases, one of the drivers involved is at fault when a parking lot accident occurs. Drivers have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings, follow traffic laws, and pay attention to where they are going.
  • Pedestrian. While car drivers usually bear the blame in parking lot accidents, pedestrians can also be at fault. Pedestrians should use crosswalks and designated paths when walking through a parking lot. If a pedestrian is walking erratically or without a clear destination, they could be considered liable if they caused a car driver to swerve or collide with something else.
  • Parking lot owner. In some cases, the parking lot owner can be responsible for a parking lot accident. If the parking lot has a dangerous design, such as narrow or winding pathways, confusing signage, or inadequate lighting, the owner could be held accountable for accidents that occur. Additionally, if the parking lot owner was aware of a hazard, such as a pothole or broken curb, but failed to fix it, they could be responsible for any accidents that result.

A knowledgeable attorney can investigate your parking lot accident, determine who’s at fault for causing the collision, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Understand Your Next Steps

Without determining who is at fault for a parking lot accident, you may not be able to get the compensation to which you are entitled. Our attorneys at Marker & Crannell can review the circumstances surrounding your accident and help you determine and prove fault. We help clients obtain the compensation they need when their damages and injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence in a parking lot. Contact us today for a free case review.