Parking lot accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians can result in significant injuries, even at low speed and low impact. If you suffered an injury in a pedestrian parking lot accident, you may have questions about liability and who is responsible for your financial losses. Pedestrian accidents on private property are slightly more complex than those on public property, but you still have the right to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages.
Potential Causes for a Pedestrian Parking Lot Accident
Pedestrian parking lot accidents most commonly occur because of driver error. Drivers tend to lessen their alertness in a parking lot, which can lead to serious repercussions. Examples of common causes include:
- Focusing on finding a parking spot. This is especially problematic in crowded parking lots where drivers rush to beat others to a parking spot. At the moment, they shift their focus to getting the spot rather than being aware of their surroundings.
- Driving while distracted. Drivers sometimes feel more comfortable getting on the phone or searching for something in the vehicle while moving around a parking lot because they assume the low speeds make the area safer than the road. However, a distracted driver presents a danger to other drivers and pedestrians anywhere.
- Reversing without looking. Safely backing up in a parking lot requires the driver to move slowly and be on high alert for cars and pedestrians, or someone could get hurt.
- Hitting the wrong pedal. Sometimes drivers panic when they need to make an abrupt stop. Unfortunately, this may result in hitting the gas instead of the brake, and hitting a pedestrian at increased speed can cause devastating injuries.
More often than not, the driver is at fault in a pedestrian parking lot accident. However, there are cases where the pedestrian at least shares some of the blame. For example, failing to use pedestrian walkways or stepping in front of a car assuming that the driver sees you indicates that the pedestrian is at least partially at fault.
Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Parking Lot Accident
Proving liability in a parking lot accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle can be straightforward or challenging. If the parking lot has security cameras and the footage provides a clear view of the incident, the investigation is relatively simple. It becomes more challenging when there is no police report or witness statements. In some states, there are jurisdictions in which police officers will not report to the scene of a minor accident on private property. If that is the case for you, you still have the option to drive to the station and file a report. Some stations even allow you to file online.
If you share liability for the accident, you may still recover compensation under the rule of comparative negligence. This rule states that your percentage of fault is deducted from the award, but you still receive the remaining balance. However, if you live in a state that follows the modified comparative negligence rule, you face ineligibility if your share of fault is more than the driver’s. Proving liability is essential in a personal injury case. Following the accident, knowing what steps to take may help you collect more evidence.
What You Should Do if Injured While Walking in a Parking Lot
If a driver hits you in a parking lot, you may find it difficult to collect yourself, especially if you suffered severe injuries, but you would benefit from following these steps:
- Call for emergency medical services. Assess your body for injuries and try not to move too quickly. If you can feel immediate pain or see visible injuries, call 911. If your phone is not readily available, you may call out to someone in the parking lot for help.
- Report the accident to authorities. Call the police. When officers arrive on the scene, they will interview everyone involved and speak with witnesses to understand what happened. Ask someone to alert the property owner or manager. If the parking lot is on private commercial property, the owner likely has an incident report policy, especially if the accident involves an employee.
- Document anything you can. If you can get up and move around, take photographs and videos of the scene, including where you landed, the position of the car that hit you, the license plate on the vehicle, the surrounding area, and any visible bodily injuries. Ask for a copy of the police report and the manager’s incident report. If you can see security cameras, ask for a copy of the footage.
- Collect information from everyone involved. Ask the driver for their name and contact information. Take a photo of their insurance card and driver’s license. Write down the names and information of any witnesses.
- Have a doctor evaluate you. You may not need emergency medical services, but you should still go to the nearest hospital or urgent care for evaluation. You may have internal injuries with delayed symptoms that could cause severe damage.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Additionally, refrain from speaking to anyone other than the police about the accident. This includes staying off of social media until the issue comes to a resolution. If you file a claim or lawsuit, the insurance company will almost certainly monitor your internet presence for any evidence that may downplay your injuries are imply that you share blame for the accident.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury cases are particularly taxing emotionally, physically, and financially. Dealing with a lawsuit and an insurance company only adds to the stress for the injured person. The primary advantage of hiring a personal injury attorney is that they represent you in communications and file all the required paperwork so that you can try to relax and recover from your injuries. Other benefits of having a personal injury attorney on your side include:
- They often have years of experience dealing with accidents like yours and can anticipate how the defense will respond to your claim.
- They understand the value of the losses you suffered and can place a monetary value on general damages, such as pain and suffering.
- They have negotiation experience, which could help you get a better settlement.
- If your attorney feels that the insurance company or defense has not offered a fair settlement, they will prepare your case to go to trial.
- They often work for no upfront fees and only accept your case if they are confident that you will receive a settlement. They only get paid if you receive an award or settlement.
- They are familiar with all the tactics that insurance companies use to avoid paying out on a claim. Insurance adjusters know this and often avoid such tactics when speaking with a personal injury attorney.
If you suffered an injury in a pedestrian parking lot accident, the laws that govern personal injury on private property are complex and often challenging to navigate. At Cellino Law, our team of personal injury attorneys is committed to getting you the maximum compensation for your losses. We dedicate our careers to helping people when they are most in need. We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to speak with you about your case and answer any questions you may have about the accident. Contact us today and set up your free consultation. We are ready to help you right away.