Most drivers have a good grasp on the rules of the road. After all, it’s necessary to demonstrate knowledge of traffic laws to get a driver’s license. The rules of the road are no different in parking lots. Still, determining fault in a parking lot collision can be confusing, because parking lots are functionally different from roads.

In this post, we’ll explore the factors that go into determining fault in a parking lot collision, how it can affect a potential personal injury claim, and how Great West Injury Law can help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Parking Lots and Right-of-Way Laws

One factor that can help determine fault in a parking lot collision is right-of-way laws. In general, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, and stationary vehicles should yield to moving vehicles. This means that if you are entering a parking lot and another vehicle is already there, you should yield to that vehicle.

Right-of-way laws in parking lots can be a bit more complex, as there are often no marked lanes or traffic signals to guide the flow of traffic. This can lead to unique driving situations. For example, a common parking-lot collision scenario occurs when two cars simultaneously back into one another. In such a case, fault is likely to be shared equally between the drivers.

It’s important to use caution and common sense when it comes to right-of-way in parking lots. Yield to pedestrians and moving vehicles, keep your speed low, and resist the urge to drive aggressively and jockey for an empty spot.

Other Common Parking Lot Collisions

Parking lot collisions tend to happen because of the following situations:

  • Backing out of a spot and into a moving vehicle: Since vehicles driving in the “feeder lane” (the lane that runs parallel to the row of parking spots) have right-of-way, the driver backing out of the spot is likely to be considered at fault.
  • Hitting a parked car: If a driver hits a parked car, that driver is likely to be at fault, since the parked car is stationary and unable to react.
  • Colliding while entering the same parking spot: In this situation, fault could be evenly split between the two drivers. But certain factors can change this. For example, if a driver was driving too aggressively, they may shoulder more of the blame.
  • Colliding with a pedestrian: Because pedestrians have right-of-way at all times in a parking lot, the fault would likely fall upon the driver who hit the pedestrian.
  • Colliding while turning into a thoroughfare: Cars within the thoroughfare–that is, the main roads surrounding a parking lot­–have right-of-way. If a driver is turning into a thoroughfare and hits a driver that was already driving along it, they may be at fault.

It’s important to remember that many factors can affect the fault determination in these scenarios. For example, if a driver is driving aggressively, carelessly, or under the influence, the fault could fall to them regardless of the scenario.

Why Fault Matters in a Parking Lot Collision

Some states, like Utah, are no-fault states. This means injured parties seek payment from their own insurance carrier for the first $3,000 of medical expenses regardless of who is considered at fault. If the injured party’s medical expenses go beyond $3,000 or they experience permanent impairment, the law allows them to pursue more damages from the other involved parties.

Another reason why fault matters so much is that Utah uses a modified comparative negligence system. This means drivers can’t collect damages from other parties if they were 50% or more at fault. Fault, therefore, can be the determining factor for how much compensation you receive.

In addition to financial considerations, fault can also affect your insurance premiums. If you are found to be at fault for an accident, your insurance company may raise your premiums as a result.

Great West Injury Law Can Help

If you have been in a parking lot collision and have questions about fault and potential personal injury claims, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The parking lot accident attorneys at Great West Injury Law can guide you through the process of seeking compensation the injuries you may have suffered. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.