Who Could Be Found Liable in a Parking Lot Accident?
Parking lot accidents are far more common than you might think. All of the hustle and bustle in an average parking lot means a relatively large number of cars are backing up and people are walking around in just a small amount of space. If people are not careful, it is easy to get into a collision. Severe injuries can even occur in a parking lot accident if a pedestrian is involved, or a driver was moving at a high speed.
In addition to being unexpectedly common, parking lot accidents are also unexpectedly complex. Figuring out liability in such a busy space can be difficult, but knowing the right-of-way in an average parking lot helps.
In a parking lot, the following right-of-way scenarios and rules exist:
- Prioritize pedestrians: People on foot always have the right-of-way in any traffic situation. You will rarely come across a jaywalker while driving along the street, but pedestrians are literally all around you in a parking lot. Give them ample space as you move through the parking lot. Try to make eye contact with any nearby pedestrian, which reaffirms awareness of the situation for you both.
- Yield when exiting: When you are leaving a parking spot, whether you are backing up or pulling out directly, you do not have the right-of-way. Other vehicles moving through the lane take priority. Yield to any approaching vehicles, even if you are halfway out of your spot. Once again, establish eye contact and get a visual confirmation from the other driver that it is acceptable for you to continue leaving your space with them fully stopped.
- Right turns have right-of-way: Drivers on streets and highways use the right side of the road, and so the same expectation is set for vehicles in parking lots. As a result, anyone turning right to enter a parking spot has right-of-way over people turning left for the same spot at the same time.
- Low speed limits: If there is no posted speed limit in a parking lot, the maximum speed limit is likely 15 miles per hour. However, when pedestrians are nearby, the speed should be reduced to 5 or 10 miles per hour. A driver who is speeding in a parking lot may assume liability in case a parking lot accident occurs.
- No distractions or drinking: It is illegal to operate a vehicle in a parking lot while intoxicated. Using a smartphone or engaging in another form of driver distraction can also considerably spike a driver’s liability in a crash.
Call Florida Personal Injury Attorney Wes Pittman at (850) 784-6997
Figuring out if you are liable for a parking lot accident can be stressful, especially if you are trying to recuperate from an injury like whiplash. To get the guesswork and legwork out of your injury claim, come to The Pittman Firm, P.A. The firm’s legal team accepts auto accident cases from all around Florida and has 30+ years of legal experience to put to good use for your case.
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