When right-of-way is apparent, it’s relatively easy to determine who is liable for an accident. But what about in parking lots? Click here for more info.

Who is liable if I get injured in a parking lot?

 

A:

Aerial view of crowded parking lotAlthough you may not realize it, parking lots are common places for car and pedestrian accidents. In addition to an unwarranted sense of safety and the resulting disregard of caution, parking lots create a condensed and often confusing traffic labyrinth. When driving on a road or highway, stops, right-of-way, and hazards are often clearly indicated—this isn’t always the case for parking lots. As a result, confusion, poor visibility, and larger blind-spots increase the risk of a collision.

Who’s to Blame?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, several parties involved can be held liable. Washington is an at-fault and pure comparative negligence state. This means that those who are held at-fault for the incident are held liable for any and all damages. However, the fault can be divided among several parties.

  • Pedestrian. In parking lots, pedestrians should walk on the sidewalks provided, or as close to the outside of the feeder lane as is possible. Pedestrians should also be extremely cautious when walking near or behind a vehicle that has its lights on—you never know when it may begin to move. Despite these cautions, if a pedestrian is struck by a moving vehicle, the driver of the striking vehicle will most likely receive the majority of the fault. However, when a pedestrian purposefully ignores safety standards, deliberately stands in blind-spots, or actively walks into a moving vehicle, he can be held liable for his own injuries as well as any property, physical, or emotional damage he caused.
  • Driver. Depending on the circumstances of the collision, the driver of the striking vehicle will be liable for any damages—especially if the other vehicle was parked at the time. However, when determining fault, it’s important to take right-of-way into account. Drivers who are on the thoroughfare (the main lane that leads to the road) have the right-of-way over those in the feeder lanes (the lanes that lead to the parking spaces). If a driver on the thoroughfare collides into a driver who is turning from a feeder lane, the feeder lane driver will be held accountable.
  • Parking lot owner. In some cases, parking lot accidents occur as a result of poor lighting or maintenance. In these situations, the owner of the parking lot can be held partially responsible for the collision.

Filing a Claim

Have you been injured and sustained significant property damage as a result of a parking lot accident? Learn more about your options for pursuing an accident and injury claim from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Car accident attorney Andrew Kim offers FREE case evaluations to help injury victims and their families better understand their rights. To learn more or to schedule your appointment, call our office today at 800-636-3676 or fill out the convenient contact form located on this page.