When most people think about car accidents, they picture high-speed collisions on city roads and highways. Of course, these are usually the most serious types of car accidents. As a result, those involved in these types of accidents are quick to file police reports, contact insurance companies, and hire an attorney after an accident. On the other hand, people often brush off accidents that occur in parking lots and parking garages.
However, what may seem like a minor fender bender could actually result in thousands of dollars in car repairs and what may appear to be simply a bruise could, in fact, be a serious internal injury requiring hospitalization. Protect yourself and your legal rights by calling a parking lot accident lawyer in Pittsburgh to discuss your case.
What types of accidents happen in parking lots?
Visitors driving or walking in parking lots are at a high risk of accidents due to the high number of cars and low visibility.
Although most parking lot wrecks happen at low speeds, injuries can still be very serious. Some may even require hospitalization. Parking lot accident victims can sustain anything from minor bumps and bruises to broken bones, serious head trauma, or even death.
Below is a list of the most common types of accidents that can occur in parking lots.
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Whether backing out of a parking space or pulling from a smaller lane into oncoming lot traffic, collisions between two cars in parking lots and garages are quite common.
These types of accidents can be even more common when drivers are distracted or when they take dangerous shortcuts across parking spaces rather than driving in lanes.
When it comes to liability, the driver in a lane has right of way over a driver pulling out of a parking spot and drivers on the main thoroughfares at the edges of parking lots have right of way over drivers turning out of the smaller feeder lanes.
This means that in most cases, the driver backing out or turning from a feeder lane will be at fault. However, it is important to note that this is not always the case. Liability can be difficult to determine in a parking lot accident; a Pittsburgh accident attorney can help.
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One of the most dangerous types of parking lot accidents occur when a car collides with a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Because of the power and size of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists can sustain serious injury even when cars are traveling at slower speeds.
Collisions between cars and pedestrians most commonly occur when drivers fail to check behind their vehicle before backing out of a spot or when they are driving distracted in an area where pedestrians are crossing a street or lane in a parking lot.
Slip and Falls
Slip and falls are also common occurrences in parking lots. If you are able to prove that there was an unremedied hazard in the parking lot, you may be eligible to recover compensation.
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Who pays for my parking lot injuries?
Depending on the facts of your case, one or more people may be responsible for your parking lot injury. The following parties may be responsible for your injuries:
Drivers and Parking Lot Visitors
If your injuries are the result of the actions of another visitor to the parking lot, you may be able to recover compensation through that person directly or through his or her insurance company.
For example, if a distracted driver crashes into your parked car in the parking lot, he or she will be responsible for the damage. The same is true if a driver hit you while you were walking in the parking lot.
Your Own Insurance Company
In some cases, such as when another driver hits your parked car while you are shopping but leaves without telling you (hit and run), your insurance company may be the only party available to cover your damages.
Because Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, you will turn first to your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for your injuries, regardless of fault.
Your own insurance will also have to pay for your injuries if you were responsible for the accident. For example, if you were talking on the phone and stepped in front of a car that was backing out, you might be partially or fully responsible for your injuries.
The Parking Lot Owner
If the owner of the parking lot did not place signs, such as stop signs, yield signs, or arrows, he or she may be liable of the lack of signs caused an accident.
For example, if a driver went the wrong way down a feeder lane (i.e., the lanes between parking spaces) and crashed head-on into a driver coming from the other direction, the parking lot owner may be liable, or share liability, if there were no signs indicating the correct direction for vehicular traffic.
Liability can be difficult to determine, especially if the parties share liability. Contact the accident attorneys at Berger and Green for help determining liability.
Steps to Take After a Parking Lot Injury
If you were injured in a parking lot, there are certain steps you will need to take and certain evidence you will need to gather to prove who was at fault.
First, you need to go to the doctor. Even if you feel your injuries are minor, you must get a doctor’s report, both to ensure your safety and to supply a reason for your claim. No injuries, no claim.
Note: You must continue to go to your doctor’s appointments. If you stop going to the doctor, the insurer may use that to say that you are faking or exaggerating your injuries.
Once you have gone to the doctor, you need to report the accident to your insurance company to begin your PIP claim. If your injuries exceed those limits and if you opted for traditional coverage, you can file a claim against the other driver.
This is where it gets tricky. When you call the other driver’s insurer, the insurance adjuster will likely ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident. Do not do this. The adjuster may attempt to get you to admit fault to reduce your settlement.
Instead, run your case by a Pittsburgh car accident attorney. An attorney can ensure you do not say or do anything that will reduce your settlement.
What evidence do I need?
To have a valid claim, you need to gather evidence that proves fault and your injuries. First, you need to gather your medical records.
Then, you need to get ahold of the police or incident report. The report will have eyewitness contact information, any citations issued, and may even contain the officer’s opinion on fault.
Evidence gathering can be difficult, especially when you are trying to overcome injuries and handle daily life. We can help.
Call the parking lot accident lawyers at Berger and Green to get started with your claim.
Schedule a consultation with us today: 412-661-1400.