When we think of car accidents, most of us picture high speed highway wrecks. However, lots of car accidents don't happen on the road at all, but rather in the parking lots of grocery stores, malls, shopping plazas and other businesses.
As a car wreck lawyer, I can tell you that car wrecks in parking lots are no laughing matter. Even though parking lot collisions tend to involve low speeds, there's a higher rate of pedestrian-car accidents, which often lead to more significant injuries.
Common Causes of Parking Lot Wrecks
There are lots of reasons why people wreck in parking lots. Some people are distracted by cell phones or new purchases or children in the backseat. Some drivers want to cut across the parking lot, ignoring marked lanes to get around quicker. Some simply have bad blind spots and don't see other cars or pedestrians as they're backing out.
Who's At-Fault in a Parking Lot Wreck?
After a collision, it's important to determine who caused the accident because that person (and their insurance) will be responsible for paying for all the damages and injuries they caused.
I've written extensively on how to determine fault in a car accident, which you can find here. However, I'll give a brief overview here.
Sometimes, it's very clear who caused the accident (Joe backed into Sally's parked car. Clearly Joe caused the wreck). If Joe admits fault, apologizes and assumes responsibility for his mistake, the case will be rather straightforward. Sally will file a claim against Joe's insurance and they'll take it from there.
However, parking lot accidents aren't always straightforward. Sometimes, Joe will deny fault ("I didn't cause the wreck. SHE backed into ME!"). Sometimes, both drivers took part in the accident (Joe and Sally were both baking out at the same time). Sometimes, the situation is even more complicated or involves multiple parties and it isn't clear who's at-fault.
In a nutshell, if you were hurt in a parking lot accident and you think another driver is to blame, you're going to have to prove it. You can read more about all that goes into determining fault in my article, Who's At-Fault in a Car Accident?
What Insurance Do You Use After a Parking Lot Wreck?
First, you'll use the insurance of the at-fault driver. If you caused the wreck, you'll use your insurance. If another driver caused the wreck, you'll get their information and contact their insurance provider.
Your collision insurance policy should cover you after a parking lot accident.
What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
Unfortunately, it's estimated that 25 percent of Texas drivers aren't carrying any auto insurance. If you were hit by a driver without insurance, you'll need to use your uninsured motorist insurance (assuming you have it).
You can read more about what to do if you're hit by an uninsured driver here.
Could a Lawyer Help Win Your Case?
Not everyone needs an injury attorney after a parking lot accident. Then again, many people do. If you were hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault and you're worried about getting your medical bills paid, proving fault, dealing with the insurance company or fighting your claim, it's time to set up a free consultation with the Anderson Law Firm.
Mark Anderson is a board certified trail attorney who has been helping injured drivers and motorcyclists across North Texas since 1991. For a free no obligation consultation, call the Anderson Law Firm toll free at 817-294-1900.