Were you involved in a parking lot hit-and-run? Learn what to do…
How many times do you circle around the shopping mall or grocery store parking lot looking for that perfect space?
The ideal spot is close to the store and offers easy access for bringing your purchases back.
Unfortunately, that’s where everyone else is looking for a spot. Those “prime” locations tend to get very crowded, which can increase the chances of an accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crunched the numbers and found that one out of every 5 motor vehicle accidents takes place in a parking lot or parking garage. When there’s a big sale going on or a holiday shopping rush, the chances of an accident go up even more.
So what happens if your car is damaged in a Florida parking lot?
It depends on the extent of the damage and who can be proven to be at fault.
Common examples of parking lot accidents
Before leaving home, you should do a quick walk around your car to see if there are any dents, dings or scratches that you haven’t noticed. After shopping, you might want to do the same quick inspection.
One of the most common parking lot accidents is when another car’s door opens into your door. It’s easy to match those scratches if the responsible car is still there.
Here are some other common parking lot accident scenarios:
- A driver pulls out of a space and collides with your car as you drive past
- Two cars collide when backing out of a parking space at the same time
- A car hits a shopper walking behind them when backing up
- Someone speeds through a parking lot and hits a pedestrian
- A car goes the wrong direction down a parking lane
Drivers also commonly collide with another car in the race to get to a parking spot. Some of these accidents have a clear negligent driver at fault. Others have “shared” responsibility. This is why it’s important to engage the services of an experienced Florida car accident attorney who is in the best position to consider all sides and help determine who was at fault.
Who is at fault for a parking lot accident?
The same Florida laws that apply to traffic violations also apply to parking lot accidents. It might seem easy to assign blame to the driver who was backing up, but proof of fault isn’t always a cut-and-dried process. There may be mitigating circumstances that must be brought to light.
For instance, what could the driver have done to prevent the accident? Factors like drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and not following designated traffic signs can all come into play.
Because Florida is a no-fault state, each driver’s own insurance is responsible for covering minor damages and medical expenses (up to $10,000). “Minor” is the keyword with this no-fault approach. There could be parking lot accidents that result in major injuries that require serious and ongoing medical care.
In serious injury cases, your insurance company will likely want to avoid making those payments if someone else was at fault. There’s also the issue of intent to consider. If someone intentionally rams into your car because of road rage, then the no-fault rules might not be applicable.
Reporting a parking lot accident
If the accident results in damages or medical expenses exceeding $500, then you’re required by Florida law to report the accident. Unless there’s an injury requiring an ambulance, the police might not respond. However, you should still exchange information with the other party involved in the accident.
If this is a “hit-and-run” situation, then the police should definitely be involved. You might also report it to the management of the shopping facility. They could possibly produce security camera footage to help identify the driver who fled the scene.
Getting help from a Florida car accident attorney
After you’ve taken pictures of the accident at the scene and exchanged information with the other driver, you should contact an experienced accident attorney at Tragos, Sartes & Tragos for advice on what to do next. We can handle any further communication with the other party, sparing you from making a critical mistake that reduces the chances of successfully resolving your claim.
Contact the Tragos, Sartes and Tragos today for a free case consultation.