Who is At-Fault for a Parking Lot Car Accident?

Accidents that occur in parking lots often result in injuries and property damage. However, determining fault, thereby figuring out who pays compensation, can be challenging. There are various ways to help prove fault in the aftermath of a parking lot accident that occurs in our area, but much of this depends on the tenacity of those involved when working to secure the evidence.

Fault for Parking Lot Crashes in California

Most of us deal with parking lots on a regular basis. Regardless of where we go in our vehicles, we are likely to run into a parking lot, including at the grocery store, at the bank, any government office building, and other locations throughout California. Parking lots are busy places, and this can lead to significant challenges when it comes to navigating in a vehicle or as a pedestrian.

A typical parking lot has multiple lanes where individuals can park their cars as well as through-lanes around the parking lot where vehicles enter and leave the area, as well as circle the other lanes looking for a parking place.

If a vehicle is in a “through-lane” on the outskirts of the parking lot, then they will generally have the right of way. Any driver approaching these through-lanes from the inner lanes of the parking lot will typically have to yield the right of way to anyone in the through-lane. If a driver does not yield the right of way when leaving a parking lane and going into the through-lane, and they hit another vehicle, then they will typically be at fault for the crash.

Many accidents in parking lots occur in the individual parking lanes. Vehicles traveling through a parking lane do have the right of way over vehicles that need to leave a parking space. Accidents in parking lots regularly occur when a vehicle is going in reverse. This often happens if a vehicle is backing out of a parking place and runs into another vehicle in the parking lane. In general, if a vehicle is reversing and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian, they will be at fault for the incident.

In some cases, two or more vehicles back out of parking spaces and strike one another. Determining fault in these situations will be more challenging. When this occurs, both drivers will likely share liability. Any driver backing out of a parking space has a responsibility to check their surroundings and ensure that they have a clear area to proceed before reversing. When one vehicle begins to back out of a space, every other vehicle already in a parking space in the area should wait for them to finish before reversing.

It is important to note that pedestrians usually have the right of way over any vehicle inside a parking lot, regardless of whether or not there are marked crosswalks. All vehicles should yield to pedestrians regardless of what lane they are in or if they are backing out of a parking space.

Will You Need an Attorney After a Parking Lot Crash?

If you or somebody you love has been injured or sustained property damage in a parking lot accident in California, you need to consider working with a Santa Ana car accident attorney. A lawyer can help you investigate the incident, gather evidence, and work to recover compensation for your losses. A lawyer will be particularly important if you have sustained a severe injury as a result of the parking lot incident.