When most people think of vehicle collisions, accidents that happen on public roads come to mind. However, collisions also sometimes occur on private property, such as parking lots and garages. This is particularly common when drivers and pedestrians don’t pay enough attention to the traffic surrounding them. Drivers are frequently distracted while hunting for a parking space, and pedestrians are often preoccupied with their search for a store or restaurant.
Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
Determining fault in a parking lot accident can be a challenge, since the rules on private property aren’t as well-known as those pertaining to public roads, even though they are quite similar. Traffic rules for determining fault on private property include:
- Drivers exiting a parking space must yield to all traffic from every direction.
- If a vehicle occupant opens his car door and strikes another vehicle, he is responsible for any damage.
- If the driver of a vehicle collides with a legally parked car, he is automatically at fault. However, if the stationary vehicle is illegally parked, the driver of the parked car could be at fault.
- Drivers in a lane that exits onto a road or highway have the right-of-way over drivers in lanes between rows of parked vehicles.
- Drivers must obey all traffic signs and signals, whether they are on a public road or private property.
Property Owner Liability
The property owner may also be held responsible for accidents that occur on his property. If the parking lot or garage was poorly designed or maintained, and if the lack of proper design or maintenance was a factor in your accident, the property owner may be liable for your injuries. When the construction of a parking garage creates blind spots, or if a parking lot has lanes that are too narrow, the property owner may be responsible.
You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident on private property, you need professional representation by an experienced attorney. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.