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In a no-fault accident, the driver who had the right of way is usually not responsible for the accident. For example, if you were backing out of a parking spot and hit a car, you would be at fault since you failed to use reasonable care when backing out of your spot.
This is true even though the other driver may not have had the lights on or was driving very quickly.
Drivers Share the Blame
In some cases, it’s impossible for the police or insurance companies to tell who caused the accident. When this happens, and especially when the property damage is minimal and there are no serious injuries, the drivers share the fault. One driver – or the driver’s insurance company – may pay more than the other, but in the end both drivers pay.
Lot Owner Is at Fault
The owner of the parking lot has a responsibility to ensure your safety. The lot needs to be kept in good repair, and the owner must warn people about all known dangers that exist on the grounds. For example, a lot owner may be responsible for the accident if shrubs or sign made it difficult for a driver to see oncoming traffic.
Tips for Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents
Avoid parking lot accidents by:
- Parking far away from other vehicles, if possible
- Using a turn signal when turning into the parking lot and into a parking space
- Parking in the center of a parking space
- Paying extra attention when pulling into and backing out of parking spots
- Driving slowly through parking lots
- Avoiding unlit parking lots after dark
- Avoiding parking near anything that looks like it might be hazardous, such as defects or obstructions
The parking lot usually isn’t the beginning or the end of the errand or task that got you into the car in the first place. It’s just one part of the overall journey. Taking your time and paying attention in the parking lot, just as much as you do while on the open road, can help you avoid an accident.
Question for Your Attorney
- No police report was filed at the time of the accident. Will this hurt my chances of recovering damages?
- I discovered my car had been hit while I was in the store. What are my options?
- The parking lot where the accident occurred is in disrepair. How can I prove that the lot owner is at fault for the accident?