It may seem like fewer accidents should happen in parking lots as compared to other locations. Most of the vehicles are completely stopped at any given time, and moving vehicles are usually going quite slow. However, multi-vehicle and vehicle-pedestrian accidents happen in public and private parking lots and garages fairly often. Parking lot crashes consistently occur because drivers move too quickly and do not pay attention like they should.
A careless or reckless driver who causes a parking lot accident is responsible for your resulting physical, psychological, and property damages, but obtaining the compensation you deserve takes time and a thorough understanding of personal injury claims. You can get the knowledge and assistance you need by working with the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers from Studinski Law, LLC. We have years of experience helping individuals injured in parking lot accidents get through the necessary insurance claim process and when necessary, pursuing a lawsuit to obtain the compensation they deserve under the law.
Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
Any type of collision can occur in a parking lot. However, certain types of accidents are more common than others.
Some of the most common causes of parking lot collisions include but are not limited to:
- Backing up into another vehicle
- Following too closely and rear-ending another vehicle
- Making fast blind turns
- Driving too fast for the weather, pavement, and traffic conditions
- Poor pavement conditions like pot holes and debris
- Distracted driving
- Failing to obey the right of way
- Failing to obey a stop sign
Distraction is a Major Issue
The National Safety Council (NSC) found distraction is a major factor in parking lot accidents. According to the NSC’s injury facts, about 50,000 crashes happen in parking lots and garages every year. By no means are these accidents all minor. They lead to more than 60,000 injuries and 500 fatalities annually. Distracted driving is not entirely at fault, but it is a common cause.
The NSC found far too many drivers are willing to take their hands of the wheel and their minds of their tasks when they are in parking lots. While driving in a parking lot, motorists responded:
- 63 percent would program a GPS
- 52 percent would use social media
- 50 percent would receive or sent email
- 49 percent would take photos or watch videos
- 43 percent would surf the Internet
- 42 percent would video chat
When to Involve the Police
Parking lot crashes usually occur at lower speeds, resulting in less property damage and relatively minor physical injuries in most cases. When emergency services are not needed, the police may not have the time or manpower to address the situation. The police may also not respond if the accident occurred on private property.
However, that does not mean you should never call the police after a parking lot accident. If someone appears to be moderately or seriously injured, do not hesitate to call 911. Also, if the at-fault party appears to be intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol, call the police. A person who is inebriated does not belong behind the wheel at all, even if they are not currently on open roads. The police may have enough evidence of intoxication to arrest the driver for a DUI, which would help protect others and potentially help support your claim for compensation.
If it appears the police are not immediately needed, exchange information with the other driver and then contact an attorney right away. An auto accident lawyer can advise you on filing an accident report with the police, seeking medical attention, and filing an insurance claim.
Liability for Parking Lot Accidents
Before you can move forward with a third-party insurance claim or personal injury suit based on a parking lot accident, you will need to know who is responsible for the accident. If you were hit by another driver who was clearly distracted, intoxicated, or failing to yield the right of way, then you know who is probably at fault. However, consider a few Wisconsin parking lot rules when determining fault:
- Drivers in feeder lanes, side lanes that connect main thoroughfares, must yield to driver’s in thoroughfare lanes
- Drivers leaving parking spaces must yield to other vehicles – the vehicles within the thoroughfare and feeder lanes have the right of way
- Drivers who do not obey any posted signs within the lot are responsible for collisions
If an at-fault driver was behind the wheel of their own car, you may file a claim against his or her insurance company. However, if the driver was an on-duty employee or in a company car, then you may file a claim against his or her employer’s insurance company.
Additionally, the accident may not have been another driver’s fault at all. If the crash occurred because of the parking lot or garage’s pavement or signage, then the owner of the lot, the business, or the municipality may be liable. If you think the environment was the only cause or a significant factor in the accident, contact an attorney right away.
Compensation After a Parking Lot Collision
If you were injured in a parking lot collision, contact Studinski Law, LLC to learn about pursuing compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial injuries. You may have the right to obtain compensation for your:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss & Future Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of society and companionship
- Property damage
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate or reimburse you. They are intended to punish the at-fault driver and to deter future wrongdoers from engaging in similar conduct. You can seek punitive damages if the other driver was reckless or their actions behind the wheel were egregious.
Let Our Auto Accident Lawyers Help
You have every right to pursue the compensation you are owed under the law after a parking lot accident. At Studinski Law, LLC, we know how a collision that occurred in a parking lot or garage may affect your claim. We understand how the slightly different rules of the road can confuse the issue, particularly when determining fault and liability. Our legal team is ready to review and analyze the situation, help establish fault, and fight for your right to compensation.
Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a consultation.