Regardless of how well lit a parking lot is or how carefully drivers operate vehicles, accidents can and will happen. Sometimes, drivers are distracted. Other times, drivers are in a rush and put others at risk because they are in a hurry. Regardless of what caused your parking lot accident, questions often arise about who will be deemed at fault for a parking lot accident. More information about parking lot collisions is below.
Missouri Traffic Laws
The Missouri Department of Insurance reports that parking lots are private property and that the owner of parking lots has the duty to paint both lines and signs in the lot rather than the government. For vehicle collisions that occur within the parking lot, Missouri is a pure comparative fault state.
Accidents Caused by Property Defects
Not all parking lot crashes occur due to mistakes made by other drivers. Sometimes, defects or improperly designed property features can lead to parking lot crashes. For example, posted signs might bear improper directions, or turns within the parking lot might be dangerously designed. In other cases, a failure by the property owner to mark a crosswalk can result in the property owner being held liable. In these cases, the owner of the parking lot might be deemed liable for some or all of the resulting damage. Other property elements like inadequate lighting or slippery surfaces might cause drivers to end up in parking lot collisions.
Crashes Involving Improperly Parked Vehicles
Issues involving liability can become complicated when a vehicle is illegally parked. If a motorist is traversing a parking lot and collides with a legally parked car, the driver is liable for the damage caused to the vehicle. If the driver collides with an illegally parked vehicle, the motorist who owns the improperly parked vehicle could be found partially or fully liable.
Collisions Involving Failure to Yield
Many collisions involve the failure of one or both drivers to yield. Even though specific laws address when motorists must yield, these rules are frequently ignored in parking lots. Individuals in parking lots must yield to other drivers who are already in traffic lanes. This means that if a motorist is in a parking lot and wants to leave the vehicle’s space, the driver must wait until the traffic they are entering is clear to do so. Not all drivers, however, wait. Some drivers might begin to slowly back out and expect nearby vehicles to stop for them. If a driver backs out and an approaching vehicle does not have time to stop, the backing up driver will be found responsible for the crash.
Another unique situation occurs when motorists collide with another vehicle that is backing up. In these situations, both drivers may be found liable for the crash.
Speak With an Experienced Parking Lot Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or impacted by a parking lot crash, you should promptly gather evidence relating to the crash and reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact House Law LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.