Though a parking lot accident typically occurs at lower speeds, serious injuries can still occur, especially if children or the elderly or struck. Below are some tips for what you should do if you find yourself in such a collision.
Help Those Who are Injured
Even if you are the one who caused the accident, you should never flee the scene, as doing so will incur greater liability, one that might land you behind bars. The first thing you will want to do is check everyone to make sure they are not hurt and provide any assistance you can to those that are.
Get Your Vehicle Out of the Way
If the collision was minor, and you sustained no catastrophic injuries, you’ll want to get your vehicle out of the way, but be sure not to hit anyone nearby while doing so. If your vehicle has hazard or emergency lights, be sure to use them.
Call the Police
Depending on where you live, law enforcement while not respond to minor fender benders, which is understandable. But if anyone is seriously hurt, especially a child, you’ll definitely want to call them. When they arrive, get the name of the officer, as well as their badge number. Request an accident report copy, as this will help when you file your claim.
Collect Relevant Information
The next thing you’ll need to do is take pictures and collect pertinent documents. Exchange contact details with the other party including license number, phone number and address as well as insurance info. You’ll also want to collect information related to the automobiles involved in the collision, such as their vehicle identification number, license plate and make.
Don’t Discuss Liability or Responsibility
The immediate aftermath of a parking lot collision is not the time or place to discuss liability or who is responsible. Emotions will run high, especially if someone is injured. If the other party seems overly aggressive, do not confront them, argue or get out of the vehicle.
How is Fault Legally Determined?
Determining fault after a parking lot collision can be more challenging than standard car accidents. Fortunately, a lot of businesses now use parking lot cameras, and this will help a lot. Other factors that will be taken into consideration include:
- If one vehicle collides with the rear, front or side of another, the driver that caused the impact will usually be at fault.
- If a vehicle is backing away from a parking lot and collides with a vehicle moving in a straight line behind it, the driver backing away from the parking space will be considered liable.
- If two vehicles leave their respective parking spaces simultaneously and collide with one another while doing so, both drivers will be considered at fault.
When two vehicles collide that are trying to enter the same parking spot, both are generally held responsible, though the driver who turned right while trying to enter the space will generally have priority above the driver that turned left. Any driver that ignored a yield or stop sign and caused a collision will be held responsible.