Parking lot accidents are quite common, but that doesn’t make them any less troublesome. Parking lots are private properties and are not subject to traffic and highway laws. However, there are tactics used to determine fault.
In Canada, no-fault insurances are available in almost all provinces. To make claims under these insurances, you must deal with the insurance company. The accident may be reported to the police. However, determining fault is the insurance company’s responsibility. The fault is determined within a range of 0 to 100 percent.
Some Examples of Common Parking Lot Accidents are:
1. A vehicle hitting a properly parked vehicle.
2. When a vehicle crashes with something that isn’t moving.
3. A vehicle hitting a person or cycle.
4. A car rear-ending another vehicle at a stop sign.
5. A car rear-ending another car at a stop sign.
Determining Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
Usually, the moving car is considered to be at fault. Even more so if the other vehicle is stationary. Right of way is considered when all cars involved in the accident were in motion. These are simply general considerations.
Following is a description of several scenarios and how fault is determined in such:
Both Vehicles Back-Up and Collide
This type of incident in parking lots makes fault 50-50. Both drivers would be considered responsible since neither of them has the right of way. Both of them sharing fault equally is most likely.
Pulling Ahead into a Traffic Lane
Both vehicles are in motion in this case as well. However, the traffic lanes in the parking lot are considered to have the right of way. This can result in a 75-25 fault split, with the driver pulling out of the spot bearing the majority.
Backing out of a Space and Colliding with an Oncoming Car
This is the same as pulling into a traffic lane. Right of way belongs to the traffic lane here as well. The driver backing out needs to be careful and wait until the lane is clear. Hence, they will bear the major portion of the fault.
Fighting for the Same Spot and Colliding
Both vehicles are in motion, but one has the right of way, and the other doesn’t. The driver who has to turn left needs to wait since turning right has the right of way.
Though there are other factors such as distance of the vehicles from the spot and speed of both vehicles, right of way is the main factor used to determine the majority of the fault.
Rear-ending a Car at a Stop Sign
This is pretty straightforward. Rear-ending into a car at a stopped sign will earn you a maximum portion of the fault regardless of the location (parking lot or streets). The same goes for hitting a cyclist or pedestrian. Hitting curbs, medians, traffic signs, shopping carts etc. will most likely get you 100% of the fault.
Hit & Run
Hit & runs are a nightmare since the driver can’t usually be identified. Meanwhile, you will have your repair bills to manage with your collision insurance.
Following are two of the angles for such cases:
The Other Driver Hits Your Car and Leaves
Whatever the damage to your car maybe, if the driver who hit your car can’t be identified, it automatically goes to your collision insurance. Even if you have collision insurance, you would have to pay $500-$1000 as deductible. If the damage amount is less than that, don’t bother making a claim.
It would be considered uninsured auto on your insurance’s part, assuming the hit & run driver did not have any insurance. You won’t have to pay a deductible if you don’t make a claim.
You Leave after Hitting Someone
If you, unfortunately, hit a car in a parking lot and run, it’s better to practice sincerity and compassion. You should be sorting out the details on the spot or leave your contact info on a note, at least.
Otherwise, if you are identified from any CCTV footage, that’s considered a “failure to remain.” This could cause you a fine of $400 to $2000 depending on the level of damages, possible driving license suspension, a significant rise in your car insurance premium, and possibly seven demerit points.
Need help for a parking lot accident? Our experienced car accident lawyer can help you.
Third-party Fault in Parking Lots
The fault is generally determined based on the actions of the parties involved. However, other parties may be a possible reason for the damage (i.e., parking lot owner).
For example, there may be hazardous conditions that the owner of the parking is aware of. Failure to post sufficient visible signage/markings or to maintain property would cause the owner to bear the fault partially.
It’s much harder to prove negligence in parking lot accidents than road accidents. There are no police-issued citations in parking lot accidents, resulting in difficulty determining fault.
Hence, you should always report the accident details to the local police and keep copies of documents. Exchanging contact information and informing insurance companies is also necessary.
To make things even more detailed and solid, taking photos of the scene and obtaining bystanders’ statements as witnesses are also smart practices.
Since parking lots don’t directly fall under traffic and highway rules, it makes accidents and determining all the faults more difficult.
However, follow the guidelines above, practice safe and responsible driving, be empathic, and most importantly, be smart and vigilant to avoid any unpleasantries or get the most compensations out of accidents at the very least.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are a few questions to check out before you go.
How is fault determined in parking lot accidents?
In general, fault in a parking lot accident is determined by motion. The moving car is usually considered to be at-fault. However, if both vehicles are moving, then right of way and other factors come into play.
Is a parked car ever at fault?
A parked car can be at fault if it was parked wrongfully, out of the designated parking area, or on a driveway.
What do I do if someone backs into my car in a parking lot?
If your car was stationary and the driver who rammed into your car is at fault, you are entitled to receive compensation upon proving fault. You might require video footage or bystanders’ testimonies to prove. If your wrongfully parked car is at fault, on the other hand, it’s better that you sort out the details and exchange contacts for further remedies with the other driver.
Who is at fault when two cars are reversing?
If two cars back into each other, one of them usually has the right of way. In that case, the other driver is at fault. In some cases, both might have the right of way, and they will share the fault 50-50.