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Who Is At Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?

Parking Lot Car Accident_New Orleans

Not sure how to determine fault after a fender-bender in a parking lot? Determining who is at fault in a parking lot accident is sometimes not as clear as in a typical road collision. In this article, our legal team at The Voorhies Law Firm will explain a few things to keep in mind. If you are suffering from an injury after a parking lot accident, be sure to contact us at The Voorhies Law Firm team to find your New Orleans personal injury lawyer.

Basic Right of Way Rules in Parking Lots

Most business parking lots are structured in the same way. Each lot has parking on one or both sides, with a lane through the middle that allows one or two cars to pass. Cars enter and exit the lot using the perimeter lanes surrounding it. Discovering who is at fault in a parking lot accident depends on who had the right of way when the accident occurred.

Right of way defaults to vehicles traveling on the through lanes. Those leaving a parking lane must yield to passing vehicles before pulling forward into the through lane. The same right of way concept for left turns also applies in parking lots. The driver wanting to turn left into a parking lane must yield to oncoming traffic.

The exception is if the driver in the through lane failed to stop at designated signage. A driver in the through lane that fails to abide by traffic signs is considered at fault if they hit someone entering or exiting a parking lane.

Parking Spot Accidents

Entering and exiting parking lanes is not the only place accidents occur in parking lots. Collisions also sometimes happen when two drivers are each leaving a parking spot. Crashes can happen when drivers do not ensure that no other moving vehicles are in the area before leaving their spot. Drivers can end up backing into each other in the middle of the parking lane. 

It becomes more difficult to see who is at fault in a parking lot accident when it seems that both drivers backed out of a spot simultaneously. In this case, law enforcement and insurance companies will often consult surveillance footage and witnesses to figure out which driver is responsible for the accident.

Other Common Parking Lot Incidents

Accidents in parking lots are not limited to exiting parking spaces and driving in through lanes. Sometimes, a legally parked car takes damage when another driver is trying to park, or a person parks their car too close and hits the other vehicle with their door. The driver of the moving vehicle is at fault in these cases.

Another scenario is when two vehicles hit each other while attempting to park in the same parking spot. Most often in this scenario, both people are engaging in distracted driving. Still, the person at fault will be the one who did not have the right of way or whoever was farthest into the spot at the time of the accident.

An exception to the rules of the road when it comes to parking lot accidents is when the driver with the right of way was speeding, texting, or could have easily avoided the accident if they had been driving correctly.

What To Do After A Parking Lot Collision

It’s important to report an accident to your insurance company right away, even if the damage to your vehicle is minor and there are no injuries. Always take pictures of the scene, and be sure not to admit to anything about the accident, even if you think you caused it. Let law enforcement and insurance companies decide who is responsible, based on factual evidence.

Determining who is at fault in a parking lot accident or any road collision can sometimes be unclear. Learn more about multi-vehicle accidents, and call our team at The Voorhies Law Firm in New Orleans, LA, at (504) 875-2223 if you need legal advice.