Parking Lot Accidents: Who’s At Fault?

Even though vehicles travel slower in parking lots, accidents can still happen. Drivers are more likely to be distracted despite the slower speeds. Sixty-six percent of drivers claim they felt comfortable making a phone call while driving through a parking lot, and factors like this can result in more accidents. Many drivers and pedestrians feel they’re safer in a parking lot, but this may not be the case. Landry Law, P.C., located in Lone Tree and Trinidad, Colorado, can help you better understand what your next steps should be following a parking lot accident. 

Right of Way Rules

It’s important to understand who has the right of way in parking lot accidents as this will often determine who’s at fault. Typically, parking lots have stalls on each side of a through lane in which cars are parked. Most times, the driver in the through lane has the right of way and it’s up to the exiting driver to yield to the other cars when pulling out of a parking spot. If a car accident occurs in this instance, it will likely be the fault of the driver who was backing out.

There are instances, however, when the through-lane driver must obey signage directing them to stop or yield to exiting cars. In this case, the fault will likely fall to the through-lane driver.

Parking Spaces

There are some parking lot accidents where it’s more difficult to determine fault. One of the most common examples of this is when two cars are backing out simultaneously and collide with one another. In these cases, liability is often hard to determine. In general, both drivers must take reasonable precautions to make sure they have a clear line to exit, but it can be hard to tell who started backing out first. If this is your situation, don’t accept blame for the accident as it could work against you during your insurance claim or personal injury case.

Another common cause is two drivers who are fighting for the same parking space. These cases are also tricky because so much depends on the circumstances. Did one car have the right of way? Did one car clearly signal and start to move before the other? Was one car going the wrong way down a through lane? Situations like these are a good reason to retain a personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of these cases.

Who’s At Fault?

Determining fault is important to determine whose insurance will pay out damages and can be essential in deciding a personal injury case. Depending on the accident, liability can fall to the driver, a pedestrian, or in some cases, the parking lot owner. 

  • Driver: In most cases, the driver of the moving vehicle is held liable if the other car was stopped.
  • Pedestrian: In cases where a car hits a pedestrian, it’s more likely that the driver will be held at fault, but this isn’t always the case. In a parking lot, it’s up to the driver and pedestrians to pay attention to their surroundings and give adequate clearance for cars.  
  • Parking lot owner: If there’s inadequate lighting or signage, including a lack of yield or stop signs, directionals, or parking space lines, it’s possible the owner of the parking lot may be found at fault. In this case, both drivers have exercised reasonable caution and the cause of the accident was neither one's fault. 

Let Landry Law, P.C. Help

If you’re involved in an accident, you should first contact the police to make a report, exchange insurance information with the other driver, and report the accident to your insurance. None of this means, however, that you have to admit fault. 

The best way to ensure your rights are protected is to contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in parking lot accidents. At Landry Law, P.C., we can help with your insurance settlement or personal injury claim. We proudly serve clients in Lone Tree and Trinidad, Colorado, as well as Denver, Douglas County, Castle Pines, and Castle Rock.


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