When most people hear or read about a car accident, they will usually think of two motor vehicles crashing into each other on the road. However, there are other types of car accidents, such as hitting a parked car, which can cause great levels of stress and frustration.
The main question that follows hitting a parked car is who is at fault? What evidence do you need in order to prevail in court? The rules of the road will always be the first to determine fault in the case of a car accident. The same driving laws can be applied to parking lots. If you want to determine fault after hitting a parked car, then you will have to ask two questions: were both of the motor vehicles in motion? Who had the right of way?
If a car crash happens in a parking lot where one of the motor vehicles was still parked, then the moving motor vehicle will automatically be at fault. The parked car could not be at fault because they were not in motion, and there was nothing that they could do to avoid getting hit. However, in the event that both of the motor vehicles were moving at the time that the car accident happened, then the fault will have to be determined based on the facts surrounding the car crash.
At The Law Place, we have over seventy-five years of combined experience and knowledge of car accident cases in the State of Florida. Our law firm is highly trained to deal with a number of car accident cases, ranging from hitting parked cars, whether they were illegally parked or not. If you have any questions in regard to your case, then you should seek legal counsel with one of our car accident lawyers now.
Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation today.
Types of Parking Lot Car Accidents
Two Cars Backing up at the Same Time
When two cars are backing up at the same time, there is a possibility of a collision. One of the drivers might not have seen the other motor vehicle in their blind spot, or maybe they were looking in a different direction altogether. A parking lot accident for two motor vehicles backing up simultaneously means that they can both be held equally responsible for the crash. However, if there is evidence that proves one of the parties was more at fault than the other, then the injured party could be entitled to file a claim against the other driver.
Backing Into an Oncoming Motor Vehicle
A car accident caused by backing into an oncoming motor vehicle could happen for a variety of reasons. A motor vehicle might have backed out into the driving lane without seeing an oncoming motor vehicle in their blind spot, or maybe they were not paying attention. In most cases, a motor vehicle might have been driving too fast down the lane without paying attention and failing to see the motor vehicle that was backing out.
Two Cars, One Space
Two motor vehicles might collide in the event that they try to enter one parking space at the same time. Many parking lots have eliminated the possibility of an accident by assigning one way of driving down each lane. However, an accident involving two cars trying to park into one space can still happen.
Pulling Into Oncoming Traffic
The rules of the road can always be applied in a parking lot. The people in a parking lane have to yield to the motor vehicles driving down the main lane. A car accident can happen in the event that a motor vehicle pulls out into oncoming traffic.
Who Is at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident?
The laws applied to traffic violations can also be applied to parking lot accidents in the State of Florida. It is easy to put the blame on the driver who was backing up, but it is harder to actually prove fault. There could possibly be other mitigating circumstances and facts that need to be fully examined in the process.
For example, could the other driver have prevented the car accident? There might be factors like speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or failing to obey traffic signs that could be involved in the case.
The State of Florida is a no-fault state, which means that every driver’s insurance coverage is responsible for covering minor damages and medical bills up to the limit of $10,000. However, some parking lot accidents can result in major injuries that will require further medical care. In some cases, your insurance company might want to avoid paying you in the event that someone else is at fault for the car accident. Intent must also be considered in the issue. If a driver intentionally crashes into your motor vehicle as a result of road rage, then the no-fault law might not be applicable.
What Cause of Action Can You Bring Against Someone for a Parking Lot Accident?
A claim for a parking lot accident will be for negligence. You will have to prove four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. There are a number of people who owe you a duty of care in a parking lot accident, such as:
- An accident that happened on private property – The owner of a commercial building has a responsibility to maintain and keep the surfaces on the parking lot in good shape, along with making sure that the area is well lit, the parking spaces are clearly marked, and that there are designated spaces for disabled drivers near the entrance.
- An accident that happened on public property – The city or township has a responsibility to ensure safety in the same way that a private owner has to do. If the accident happened on city-owned roadways, then lanes have to be clearly designated, street lights have to be working, and barricades have to be placed.
- The drivers on the road – Every driver has a responsibility to operate their motor vehicle safely, which includes obeying road signs, driving within the posted speed limit, granting pedestrians the right of way, and keeping a reasonable distance between other motor vehicles.
What Should You Do if You Hit a Parked Car?
It is not a crime to hit a parked car, but it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident in every state of America. If you hit a parked car, then it is considered an accident. It is always the right to notify the owner of the parked car to tell them what you have done.
Some people might think that it is okay to leave the scene of an accident without a word simply because the owner of the parked car is not around. You also have to worry about the witnesses who might report you or even the surveillance footage around the area who caught what you did on camera. If you leave the scene without a word, then it can be classed as a hit and run.
Look for the Owner
You are required to make an effort to find the owner of the parked car and notify them of the car accident in most states. This might involve walking up and down the street while asking other people if they own the motor vehicle. If the car accident happened in a parking lot, then you might have to walk into the building of the business to find the owner of the parked car.
Leave a Note for the Owner
If you have done your best to look around for the owner of the parked car, but you could not find them, then you will have to leave a note. You should write the following information on the note:
- Your name.
- Your address.
- Your contact information.
- Your insurance information.
- Your explanation of the accident.
Make sure that the note is direct and to the point. Otherwise, any piece of evidence that you leave in the note can be used against you in a court of law. Remember to leave the note in a conspicuous place for the owner of the parked car to find it.
Gather Evidence From the Scene
The most important part will be the evidence that you gather from the scene of the car accident. You should take photographs of the damage to the parked car and the license plates. The photographs are essential to protect you from the owner trying to claim that there was more damage to the parked car than there actually was.
You should also get the contact information of the people who witnessed the accident.
Do You Need a Police Report for a Parking Lot Accident?
It depends on the circumstances of the case in question. Florida Statute 316.066 requires you to fill out a police report in the event that one of the following applies to your case:
- One of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- One of the motor vehicles involved was towed, or they had to be towed.
- One of the people involved in the car accident started to complain about pain or discomfort.
- A commercial motor vehicle was involved in the car accident.
- There was a death at the scene of the accident.
Proving Negligence in a Parking Lot Accident
If you want to bring a claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver in a parking lot accident, then you will need to have proof that they were at fault. The personal injury lawyer will help you by investigating the accident and building your case.
We will gather the following evidence to help your case:
- Photographs from the scene of the accident, including damage to the motor vehicles or injuries.
- Statements from the people who witnessed the accident.
- Surveillance footage from a security camera can reveal what happened.
- Medical bills, receipts, records, references, and invoices.
- Mechanic repair bills, receipts, records, references, and invoices.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you or someone else that you know are wondering who is at fault for hitting a parked car, then you should seek legal advice from a law firm that you can trust. Our law firm will take on your case and fight for the compensation that you are owed. We will also communicate with the other parties involved and negotiate for a settlement that will cover all of your damages and injuries.
There is also the possibility that the other driver involved in the parking lot accident might even try to claim that the crash was your fault. It is important that you have a car accident lawyer on your side to protect your legal rights and defend yourself against claims from other people. Call our office to speak to one of our car accident lawyers now, and we will discuss the details of your case and answer all of the questions that you have in mind.