Vehicle accidents don’t occur just on the roads – they can occur even in parking lots. The problem is that it’s tough to identify which driver is at-fault in a parking lot accident. For one, it is extremely difficult to establish who had the right-of-way in a parking lot. Also, the absence of warning signs, rules, and dividing lines can make it difficult to zero in on the at-fault driver.
A few weeks back, four cars were involved in a crash at Harmons Parking Lot in South Jordan. The cause of the crash was not released to the media and the fate of the case is yet unknown. Perhaps, the people involved in the accident settled out of court.
Parking lot accidents are not as simple as they seem, and therefore our team of experienced Utah parking lot accident attorneys at White and Garner got together to create this guide for victims:
A. Steps to Take After an Accident
Most parking lot accidents are followed by heated arguments or even a brawl. When people lose their cool, they cannot think clearly. So, the first thing a person involved in such an accident should do is to count to 10, and calm down. Next, he should call for medical help in case anyone is injured. Then come the following steps:
- Engage with the other driver and swap information including name, address, phone number, and insurance details.
- Call the law enforcement agency and file a report. The police report records the time, date, circumstances that led to the collision, injuries, and property damages. It comes in handy if the case becomes complicated or lands up in court.
- Take photographs of the damage to your and the other vehicle/s. If possible, take photographs of the original scene of the accident. Also, take photographs of the at-fault driver’s license plate.
- Look around for nearby security cameras. Your Utah parking lot accident attorney at White and Garner may need to obtain evidence from their server at a later date.
- Talk to any witnesses and obtain their names and phone numbers.
- Call an experienced attorney who specializes in sorting out the usually-vague parking lot accident cases.
B. Identifying the At-fault Party in a Parking Lot Accident
If the parking lot had rules, stop/arrow/yield signs, and dividing lines, then it is easy to determine who is at fault.
However, most parking lot owners do not install the required signage and drivers follow their instinct and commonsense while navigating around. Though the absence of safety signs does not mean a free-for-all kind of situation, an element of chaos does exist, especially during rush hours. If the owner of the parking lot did not install the required signage they may be liable as well.
Utah’s parking lot accident attorneys at White and Garner determine the driver at fault by checking security cameras, photographs clicked by their client, and talking to witnesses. Lawyers investigate if a driver of a parked vehicle backed out carelessly, if he was speeding or driving very close to another vehicle, if he didn’t follow the signage, if he stopped for pedestrians crossing the lot, the general visibility, and more. Damage to the vehicle is also analyzed to determine the driver at fault.
The investigation is tricky and best handled by an experienced Utah parking lot attorney.
C. Steps to Avoid After an Accident
Do not accept any out-of-pocket settlement by the at-fault party at the scene of the accident because you cannot estimate how much the vehicle damage will cost to repair. You cannot also diagnose your injury, if any, and how long and how much it will take to fix. So, do not accept any immediate settlement.
Do not avoid performing all the steps outlined in (A) above.
D. The Peculiarities of a Parking Lot Accident
Parking lots are small areas that usually hold a lot of cars that keep moving in and out, and therefore accidents are common.
A parking lot is usually private property and not subject to the city’s traffic rules.
Because the parking lot is private property, the cops do not get involved unless a call is made.
Most parking lot accidents are minor and are not likely to cause bodily injuries. But when accidents result in a compensation claim, everything boils down to determining the at-fault driver.
By default, if the driver of a moving car collided with a non-moving car, then chances are high that he is at fault.
Insurance companies typically increase the premium for at-fault drivers.
FREE CONSULTATION OFFER WITH AN EXPERIENCED UTAH PARKING LOT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY at White and Garner
Though parking lot accidents do not seem like a big thing, victims should consider taking remedial steps quickly by getting their attorney to check the accident site, collect evidence, and speak to the witnesses.
To learn more, give us a call and an experienced lawyer will help make you a more informed citizen.
Remember that our firm:
- Is always available
- Charges affordable fees on a contingency basis
- Is focused and experienced in handling parking lot accidents in Utah
So go ahead, and give us a call to discover how we can make a difference.