Who Is at Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?
So, you are driving at the Ralphs’ parking lot when suddenly a car backs out of a parking space and strikes your vehicle. Who is at fault? Car accidents in parking lots usually occur because someone is not paying attention to their surroundings, fails to keep their distance, is too impatient, or fighting for a parking space.
Parking lot accidents generally fall into the following categories:
1. A driver pulls out of a parking space without looking for other vehicles or pedestrians.
A car or a pedestrian can show up from any direction at any given time. A car driving forward in a parking lot has the right of way as compared to a car that is backing out of a parking spot. The same obviously goes for a pedestrian.
So, it is crucial that you are cautious when backing out of a parking spot because, in such accidents, it is the driver who is backing out a space who is almost always at fault.
2. A driver suddenly stops to allow a car to back out of a parking spot. In doing so, the driver gets hit from behind by another car.
Rules of the road generally apply in parking lots and in California, the prima facia speed limit for driving in a parking lot is 15 mph. Rear-end collisions generally occur when a driver is driving too close, too fast, not paying attention, or a combination of these factors.
It is foreseeable for a car to stop in a parking lot to allow another car to back out of a space. So, if a driver is driving too close, too fast, and/or not paying attention, he or she may not have enough time to stop before rear-ending the car in front of him or her. So, the driver that struck the back of the other vehicle would be at fault.
3. A driver makes a sudden turn into the path of another vehicle in order to get into an empty parking space, resulting in a collision.
Under California law, a driver cannot make a right or left turn unless the move can be made safely. Since the rules of the road apply in parking lots, a driver who suddenly turns into the path of an oncoming vehicle (in order to get into an empty space ahead of the other vehicle) would be at fault for making an unsafe turn.
If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, please call us for a free consultation and honest assessment of your case.
This article is brought to you by Mason Rashtian of The Mason Law Firm, a full-service personal injury attorney and accident lawyer. We represent clients all throughout California and Los Angeles County, including the Santa Clarita Valley, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Canyon Country, Newhall, and the entire San Fernando Valley.
We can be reached at (661) 270-5677.
This article is meant for informational purposes only.