Determining who is at fault for an accident is very much so subjective but it can have a lasting impact on that individual. If a person is at fault for…
Miami Parking Lot Accident Lawyer
Sometimes it seems that parking lots were practically designed for the occurrence of accidents. Parking lots are generally very crowded areas with many pedestrians and cars trying to navigate through. Sadly, car accidents are a common occurrence in parking lots. This is especially true during the holiday season. Basically, there’s a lot going on in a tight space and this is why parking lot accidents are so common.
The car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Suarez & Montero represent people in Miami and throughout South Florida who have been harmed due to the negligence of others. Although parking lot accidents often involve low speeds, injuries can still result from parking lot accidents. If you get into a car accident in a parking lot in Florida, chances are that it may not be your fault. But you will need to speak with a Florida car accident attorney to find out for sure. At Suarez & Montero, our attorneys stand ready to defend your rights! Call now and receive a free consultation!
Parking Lot Car Accidents in Miami and Throughout South Florida
Parking lot accidents are extremely common in South Florida. Some occur in mall parking lots and others occur in smaller shopping centers. When an accident occurs in a parking lot, it is usually because one of the drivers violated the right of way. However, it is easy to understand how many people get confused when navigating through a parking lot. That is why it is important to keep track of the type of lane you are driving in when navigating through a parking lot. For instance, parking lots have two types of lanes: thoroughfares and feeder lanes. Drivers in a feeder lane must allow drivers in a thoroughfare to have the right of way. In a parking lot accident case, the at-fault party’s negligence must be established as the cause of the accident. As you can imagine, the defendant usually presents several defenses to dispute causation. In fact, in parking lot cases where it involves several vehicles, it is an issue that can become rather difficult. The final component to be established in a parking lot accident case is damages.
In many cases, the defendant will admit to liability but will claim that he or she did not cause the plaintiff’s damages. The defendant may also assert that the plaintiff’s injuries are not of the nature or extent claimed. Overall, the site of an accident plays a major role in the way in which we approach and prepare the case. If the impact occurred at an intersection, the presence or absence of traffic signs and signals, or their malfunctioning if present, may present special problems of proof. In parking lot accident cases, other factors play an important role. For example, who had the right of way, were both vehicles moving at the time of the accident, or were there any defects in the parking lot that may have caused the accident?
Four Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
Two drivers rear-end each other: Both cars are moving, so both drivers are responsible for that movement. Neither driver has the right of way. Each is blamable for not making sure it is safe to back up before doing so. In this parking lot accident, who is at fault? It is likely both drivers will share fault for the accident under Florida’s pure Comparitive negligence rules.
Driver pulls forward out of a space right into traffic: Both cars are moving so both drivers are responsible. In a parking lot, drivers in the traffic lane have the right of way, so the driver who pulled out of the space is likely the majority at fault in the accident.
Driver backs out of a space into another car: Because both vehicles are moving, each driver may hold some responsibility. But, the driver in the traffic lane has the right of way. The driver who is backing out is responsible for waiting until it is safe to back out. The driver who was backing out is likely to be deemed primarily at fault in this parking lot accident.
Two cars competing for the same spot crash into each other: Since both vehicles were moving, so both drivers have responsibility. Which driver has the right of way? As on a roadway, the driver making a turn across traffic must yield to oncoming traffic. The driver turning left into the parking space is likely the majority at fault in this accident. Of course, other factors such as the points of impact on the vehicles, how far each vehicle was into the parking space when the collision occurred, and the speed of the vehicle prior to impact will also affect who is assigned responsibility for the accident.
Complications of Parking Lot Accidents
In parking lot accident cases, there can be a few complications when it comes to proving fault. That is why it becomes even more important to provide clear evidence of negligence if you were harmed by a negligent driver in a parking lot accident. Due to the fact that parking lots are not publicly owned property, state and local traffic laws do not apply. This makes the process of establishing who is at fault a little more complicated, since police officers will not often issue a ticket, and witnesses can have conflicting opinions as to what exactly happened. Sometimes, emotions run high in crowded garages, as drivers fight for limited parking spaces and drive quickly to beat others for a coveted spot. These hostile driving habits can lead to serious accidents and injuries, especially if a pedestrian is struck. Injuries that may result from these collisions include broken bones, brain trauma, and spinal cord damage.
Determining liability in these types of accidents can involve several factors, including a parking lot owner’s responsibility if an accident is caused by faulty lighting, inadequate security, or damaged pavement. Police officers generally do not issue police reports for parking lot accidents. If you are involved in a parking lot accident, exchange insurance information with the driver of the other vehicle. If possible, gather contact information from others who witnessed the accident. Take photos of the accident. Call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as it is safe to do so. Taking these steps can help determine who’s at fault in a parking lot accident.
Who is at Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?
Despite what you may think, determining fault in a parking lot accident is not as easy as just splitting the fault 50/50. Parking lot accidents are treated in much the same way as any other type of car accident. Under pure comparative negligence in Florida, if you are partly in a negligence lawsuit, if you are partly at fault for your injuries, the percentage of your fault will be deducted from the amount of damages you can recover from the rest of the Defendants (the people being sued). This is because Florida is one of 13 states that follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which assigns a percentage of fault to each party and apportions the damages accordingly.
Parking lots are considered private property. As a result, laws that apply to moving vehicles on public roads do not always apply. This can make determining fault complicated. In most parking lot accident cases, liability for an accident is attributed to two or more parties with varying percentages of fault. Generally, when only one car is moving, the driver of the moving vehicle is typically at fault for the accident. Even if you back into a car that’s double-parked or that’s extending out into the driving lane, the driver of the moving car will likely be at fault. When both cars involved in the accident are moving, only one car has the right-of-way based on the traffic pattern. Determining who has the right-of-way in a parking lot accident can be challenging. And while parking spaces may just be guidelines, any clearly marked traffic lanes are enforceable. In most cases, whichever driver doesn’t have the right-of-way is at fault for the accident.
Steps to Take Following a Parking Lot Accident
If you get into a parking lot car accident, follow these steps to stay safe and protect your rights:
Call 911: If you or anyone at the scene of a parking lot accident is hurt or seems dazed, call 911. Sometimes injuries aren’t apparent right away, so it’s better to be safe and see a doctor promptly.
Don’t Argue with the Other Driver: Emotions and tempers can flare after getting into an accident, so try to keep yourself and other people at the scene calm. Never get into an argument about what happened or who was at fault and obviously do not admit that the accident was your fault. Just be polite and let the other party know that your insurance provider will work it out.
Exchange Information with Other Drivers: It is extremely important to get information after a parking lot car accident. After you call the police, gather key information about the other driver including his or her: Name (and any passenger names), Driver’s license number, Insurance information, Phone number, and license plate number. If the other driver is uncooperative, or you believe that he or she doesn’t have auto insurance, get as much information as you can. Also, look around for witnesses and get their names and contact information in case you need them later on.
Take Pictures: Take photos of the accident scene. Before you move vehicles involved in a crash, take photos including vehicle damage, broken glass, skid marks and any other property damage that is immediately apparent.
Contact Your Auto Insurance company: If you’re involved in a minor accident, you might wonder whether you should report it to your insurance company or just work it out with the other driver. Note that most insurance policies require you to report all accidents because damage or injuries could be much worse than you think. If you get involved in a lawsuit related to an unreported accident later on, your insurance company could deny your claim.
Contact Our Lawyers If You Were Injured in a Parking Lot Accident
After an accident, we understand that there are many questions and concerns about what to do next. Although nothing can undo the pain and suffering that victims and family members go through after an accident, an experienced car accident attorney can help. At the Law offices of Suarez & Montero, we pride ourselves on being responsive to our clients’ needs and providing expert legal representation when it matters most. If you have been involved in a parking lot accident in South Florida, the lawyers at the Law Offices of Suarez & Montero are available to help you pursue a claim against those responsible. Making sure a proper investigation is performed at the scene of the accident can be crucial to these types of cases, and we are dedicated to making sure your rights are properly protected. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident and were injured, call us or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.
The Law Offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Attorneys represents accident victims injured in various types of accidents including:
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Frequently Asked Questions
The answer to this question depends in large part on not only the facts and circumstances of the particular accident, but also on the state in which you live. Florida requires you to report any accident that involves an injury or involves property damage over $500 or more.
Yes. When accidents occur in a parking lot or structure, the question of who is responsible is quickly raised. To establish liability, a person seeking damages must show that the defendant, usually another driver, was negligent.
Yes. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still seek compensation. Florida follows a pure comparative fault theory of liability, which means that damages are awarded in proportion to each party’s degree of fault. When a victim is partially responsible, the overall amount of damages will be calculated and then reduced according to his or her percentage of responsibility.
The car accident attorneys at Suarez & Montero review the facts and circumstances of your case and persistently check for updates about any new information or evidence that can be used to further assist with your case. We want to build the strongest case for you and secure the settlement that you deserve. Settlement negotiation times can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.