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Fault Determination in a Parking Lot Accident

July 30, 2013

AccidentJust like an accident on the road, parking lot accidents vary greatly as to who will be found at fault. There are a number of factors that can go into who is at fault when an accident takes place in a parking lot, and many drivers find the rules confusing. Just like on the street, parking lots have right-of-way rules, but by their nature the accidents that happen there tend to be a little different.

Right-Of-Way In a Parking Lot

Drivers in parking lots tend to get a bit confused as to who has the right-of-way when traversing the lines of parking spots. A basic rule to follow is to consider what type of lane you are in. Parking lots have two basic types of lanes: thoroughfares and feeder lanes.

A thoroughfare is a lane that exits to a street. These tend to be wider and are the main arteries of the parking lot. Feeder lanes on the other hand are smaller lanes that end and begin at the thoroughfares. Those who are driving in a thoroughfare have the right-of-way over those coming out of feeder lanes. That means that you must stop and allow traffic in the thoroughfare to proceed before moving out of a feeder lane.

Similarly, anyone who is moving out of a parking space must yield to those who are driving through the lane. Just like a car coming out of a driveway onto a street, vehicles in a parking space do not have right-of-way over those already proceeding.

Finally, all stop and yield signs in a parking lot should be observed in the same way as on any street. Failure to obey posted signs can leave you at fault in a resulting accident.

Common Parking Lot Accidents

One of the most common accidents to occur in a parking lot is one in which a driver is backing out of a space and strikes another vehicle, whether moving or parked. A driver backing out of a parking space will usually be found at fault for an accident with one exception. In a case where two cars are backing out at the same time and strike each other, fault in the accident is likely to be shared.

Any situation in which you as a driver strike a legally parked vehicle will typically find you at fault. This includes backing into a parked car, striking a car with your door when opening it, or clipping it in the lot. If you leave the scene of an accident in which you struck a parked car without making an effort to contact the owner of the car, it can be considered a hit-and-run.

Unfortunately, pedestrians are also at risk in parking lots, as they are walking between stores and cars and are present in greater numbers than on the average street. It’s vital that all drivers be aware of the presence of pedestrians when driving in a parking lot.

How Insurance Companies Determine Fault

Just like an accident on the street, insurance companies will determine the fault in an accident based on all of the gathered facts about the incident. They will take statements and consider the damage to the vehicle.

Parking lots are subject to fault determination rules, which are predetermined guidelines by which adjusters can quickly determine fault. Cooperating and providing accurate information are the best things you can do to ensure a fair fault determination.

Just like with any other accident, you have the right to appeal the insurance company’s decision if you do not believe you are at fault. A third party mediator can be brought it to make an objective decision on the claim.

Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents

Cautious driving in a parking lot is the best way to avoid being involved in an at-fault accident – or any accident. Always slow down and drive more carefully in parking lots. There are many cars and pedestrians going in multiple directions in a large and busy lot, and it requires proceeding with extra caution.

Back out very slowly and watch for cars coming down the lane or backing out of other spots, as well as for pedestrians. It can be very difficult to see when backing out of a spot next to a large vehicle such as a van; when proceeding through the lanes watch for people who might be backing out with blind spots, and allow them to continue to back out slowly until they make eye contact with you. While they might be at fault in an accident, it’s up to all drivers to help stop preventable accidents.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that you will both be considered to be 50%b at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that since you were both reversing that you will both be considered to be 50% at fault for the accident.

    Thank you

  • tiggs

    Even though I was actually stopped and she backed into me?

  • pisssed guy

    I was reversing from a parking spot and someone came in fast and at the last minute when i was almost out of the parking spot I hit her car, she shouldn’t have been that close to me, she was trying to pass me. Who is at fault? Is it better to pay for her damages if its under my deductible instead of getting insurance involved?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Insurance adjusters use “Fault Determination Rules” under the insurance act to assess responsibility. The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website has these rules. You can check here to see if your scenario is there.
    http://www.ibc.ca/en/car_insurance/documents/brochure/on-fault-determination-rules.pdf

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It will likely be considered your fault. Paying for the other driver’s damage and not reporting to the insurance company is your decision. Remember that there is nothing stopping the other driver from reporting the damage even after you agree to pay.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time, the driver who is reversing is considered to be 100%at fault for the accident.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Again, typically the driver who is reversing is considered to be at fault.

    thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Unfortunately, since you were the driver who was reversing it is likely that you will be found to be at fault for this accident.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is usually the driver who is moving into traffic from a parking spot who is at fault.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    Most of the time, when both vehicles are reversing, the are both considered to be 50% at fault.
    Thanks

  • Raquel

    I was parked in a parking spot and there were at least 20 parking spots still available. A lady decided that she would park behind my car closest to the entrance vs parking in a spot further away from the entrance even though this area was not a designated parking area. Now I am being told that even though the other person was too lazy to walk and felt the need to park behind me I am 100 percent responsible for the accident. I feel that the other person could have avoided this accident had she parked in a parking spot.

  • Rios

    Yesterday night I was making a small wide turn into a whataburger and it was a one lane and there was no car behind and as I was turning I see a car drive right next to me (who was behind me) and I hit the car but she could avoided it but she stepped on the gas so I could miss it but since she did I hit her as I did the turn. Who’s fault is it and since it happen in a parking lot who’s fault is it? The cop told me the rule for that in Houston is different. And also she just started a fresh new insurance a couple weeks ago and I don’t have insurance so what wold happen?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am sorry but I am unfamiliar with Houston laws. You are best to check with an insurance professional.

    Thanks

  • Chaitu

    While backing out for two feet from the parking lot I stopped & looked into the rear view. Suddenly a spending car hit me my car on the rear bumper. I was still within the parking lane & car was stationary at the time of collision. Whose fault it this?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    The driver who is reversing is usually considered to be at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    most of the time it is the driver who is reversing that is considered to be at fault.

    Thanks

  • RMAC

    I was going straight in a parking lot, another vehicle made a right turn into the parking lot from the street and hit my front, passenger side of the vehicle. who is at fault?

  • Vin

    Hello tonight I was parked at Citibank and it has a throughland and feeder lanes. I was back out of a parking spot clearly no one was there. My car wa in reverse and foot was on the break because the car will roll normally in reverse. So I couldn’t have been doing more than 5 mph. Now this lady came out of a feeder land and turned into the throughlane where I was half out of already and she didn’t stop and hit me car so hard and all the damage was on her car. I live in ny

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time, parking lot accidents are a 50/50 split.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    Because you were reversing, it might be that you are at fault.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time the driver who is reversing is considered to be at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    That is typical. In parking lot accidents most of the time they are settled on a 50/50 split.

    Thanks

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