Accidents In The Parking Lot: What To Do If It Happens To You
Auto accidents can occur beyond the confines of the road; some drivers find themselves involved in vehicle collisions in parking lots. Whether the inflicted damage is minor or substantial, it’s crucial to take the correct actions to avoid more severe consequences. While the stress and anxiety that follow a parking lot collision may be overwhelming, it’s imperative not to flee the scene but instead notify the vehicle owner or leave a note explaining the accident.
Statistics Shed Light on the Situation:
While some might believe parking lot accidents are infrequent, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported approximately 50,000 such incidents transpire annually, resulting in hundreds of fatalities and over 60,000 injuries. The NSC identifies distraction as the primary cause of parking lot and parking garage accidents. According to their survey, about 66% of U.S. drivers admit to making phone calls while navigating parking lots. Additionally, 63% program their GPS, 56% text, 52% engage with social media, 50% send or receive emails, and 49% take photos or watch videos while driving through parking areas.
Common Reasons for Parking Lot Accidents:
Several factors contribute to parking lot accidents, including:
1. Simultaneous backing out by two drivers.
2. Pulling out of a parking space and merging into traffic.
3. Backing out of a parking space and colliding with an approaching vehicle.
4. Two vehicles attempting to occupy the same parking space.
5. One vehicle rear-ending another at a stoplight.
Florida operates as a no-fault state, which means that an individual’s auto insurance covers their damages and injuries regardless of fault. However, fault determination becomes essential when injury-related costs surpass coverage limits. Fault assessment hinges on the specifics of each accident:
– Two drivers backing out at the same time: Both drivers share responsibility unless evidence of negligence by one party emerges.
– Pulling out of a parking space into traffic: The driver in the traffic lane typically has the right of way, making the person pulling out at fault.
– Backing out into an oncoming car: The oncoming vehicle holds the right of way, usually implicating the driver backing out.
– Two cars vying for the same parking space: Fault depends on who had the right of way.
– Vehicle rear-ending another at a stoplight: The rear vehicle is typically at fault.
What To Do If It Happens To You?
If you inadvertently cause $500 or more in damages in a parking lot collision, it’s mandatory to promptly report the incident to the police. Even if you are uncertain about the extent of the damage, contacting the authorities when visible damage is present is advisable.
Afterward, inspect both your vehicle and the other one involved. Avoid leaving the scene without reporting the collision, as fleeing can lead to severe legal consequences, including a $500 fine, second-degree misdemeanor charges, up to 60 days in jail, and potential driver’s license revocation in Florida.
Next, seek the owner of the parked vehicle and exchange contact and insurance details. If you can’t locate them, leave a note containing your name, contact information, insurance provider’s name, and a description of the incident.
Taking photographs of the scene, capturing both vehicles from various angles, the surrounding area, and the other vehicle’s license plate can be helpful. Additionally, try to obtain contact information from any witnesses who may have observed the accident, as their accounts could be valuable when filing an insurance claim.
Notify your insurance provider about the accident and inquire about the claims process. Consulting an attorney may also be beneficial, as they can assist in securing fair compensation from your insurance company. Call Kemp Law Group today for a free consultation. 727-847-HURT.
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