We've all been there... Pulling (cautiously and carefully) out of a crowded parking when BAM! that car pops out of nowehere and into your back bumper. If you looked both ways down the row of parked cars before backing out, slowly rolled out of your parking spot, and suddenly hit the car that is pulling out directly behind you, who's fault is it? That's the question an experienced attorey can help you answer.
Unfortunately, parking lot car accidents in and around Los Angeles happen more frequently than you may think. What do you do if you have been involved in one? Read this list of tips to learn more...
Tips for Parking Lot Accidents
1. Take pictures to document the scene of the accident. Instead of pulling back into the parking spot, you should take photographs of the vehicles as they were upon impact, even if the other side admits fault at that time. Take detailed notes on the time, date, and location of the accident.
2. Move your vehicle out of the way if you are able to do so. Be careful in the process, but if your automobile is drivable, attempt to pull over to an area with less traffic.
3. Check for injuries. If you or any passenger was injured, seek appropriate medical care immediately. Do not wait too long after the accident to seek medical attention, as the longer you wait the more challenging it becomes for your car accident lawyer to prove that your injuries are the result of the accident.
4. Exchange information with the other driver involved. Always get the name, phone number, address, driver's license number, license plate number, insurance company, and insurance policy number of the other drivers.
5. Look for witnesses. Talk to anyone around the scene of the accident. Get all relevant contact information (name, address, and phone number and/or email address) from bystanders who can provide details later if need be.
6. Call your insurance company. Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, even if you think you may be completely to blame. However, if the damage is very minor, you may decide to work out an arrangement with the other party directly without dealing with insurance companies.
7. Contact an experienced auto accident lawyer. Whether you think you need to hire a lawyer or not, it is advisable to contact one and discuss your legal rights, liability, and/or potential for financial recovery.
Who is at Fault in a Parking Lot Car Accident?
There are some general rules that may help you determine who is at fault in a parking lot accident. For example, drivers entering the flow of traffic are likely at fault. Typically, drivers in a lane that directly exits onto a road or highway have the right of way over a driver in a lane in a parking lot that does not directly exit onto a road or highway and drivers leaving a parking space must yield to any other oncoming traffic before pulling out of a parking spot. A driver is likely at fault for colliding with a legally parked car. A driver is likely at fault for an accident that results from failing to follow the directions of traffic signs in the parking lot. A driver who hits another car by opening a car door is also likely at fault.
However, parking lot accidents generally come down to one driver's word against the other driver's word. In this case, insurance companies may split the fault on a 50-50 basis where each person pays their own deductible and no points are assigned.
If you returned to your parked car to find that someone had run into your car and then drove off without leaving a note, you may need the assistance of an attorney who can help you submit your claim under your collision and comprehensive coverage