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What You Need to Know About Auto Accidents in Parking Lots

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Nov 06, 2018 in Auto Accidents

car accident in a parking lotParking lots are full of dangerous hazards and negligent drivers that increase the risk of an auto accident. When this occurs, it can often be difficult to determine which driver may be at fault for the crash.

In this situation, consider contacting the experienced Fort Worth auto accident lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings. We have helped many car accident victims obtain fair compensation for injuries caused by a negligent driver. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We charge no upfront fees and only collect payment if we help you recover compensation.

Our attorneys have investigated many car accident claims and know what evidence you need to prove the other driver is at fault for the crash. If we find that you have a case, we will pursue every option to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.

Causes of Auto Accidents in Parking Lots

While driving in a parking lot, many motorists are often focused on everything other than safely operating the vehicle. This may include searching for an open parking space or texting while driving. In fact, a National Safety Council (NSC) survey found that many drivers are distracted in parking lots - 66 percent of drivers make phone calls and more than 50 percent send and read text messages.

There are several situations where one motorist’s negligence may cause an auto accident. This may occur when a motorist:

  • Backs out of parking space without looking both ways for oncoming traffic or approaching pedestrians
  • Speeds in a parking lot while driving around other vehicles and pedestrians   
  • Drives in a parking lot while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
  • Makes a turn from around a corner without checking his or her blind spots
  • Drives while distracted by a cellphone or hand-held electronic device

If you have been injured in an auto accident and believe another driver is at fault, a trusted Fort Worth personal injury lawyer will investigate your claim to determine the true cause of the accident. Your attorney will be able to use the evidence he or she finds to prove the other driver caused the accident.

Who Has the Right-of-Way in a Parking Lot?

In Texas, there is no law specifically naming who has the right-of-way in a parking lot. Instead, you must determine which driver is required to yield to the approaching vehicle.

Often, determining which driver has the right-of-way depends on the type of lane he or she is using. There are typically two types of lanes that motorists can use to travel through parking lots:

  • Thoroughfare lane: This is a lane that exits into a street. Thoroughfare lanes tend to be wider and are used as the main entrance and exit points in parking lots. Motorists already driving in a thoroughfare lane have the right-of-way over motorists who are entering or exiting the lane.
  • Feeder lane: This lane is used to lead cars to parking spots away from the thoroughfare lane. Because feeder lanes typically do not have stop signs or traffic signals, motorists traveling in feeder lanes must yield to vehicles on the thoroughfare.

Similarly, any motorist backing out of a parking spot must yield to other drivers and pedestrians passing through the lane. As with cars pulling out of a driveway, vehicles in parking spaces do not have the right-of-way over motorists who are already in a path of motion.

How Fault is Determined in Parking Lot Accidents

To determine which driver is at fault for a parking lot car accident, Texas uses the law of proportionate responsibility, or modified comparative negligence.

Under proportionate responsibility, the actions of each driver involved in the crash are examined to find out who was more negligent. Both drivers are then assigned a percentage that represents their degree of fault in causing the crash. The driver who is found to have been more negligent will be considered at fault for the crash.

However, if you share a portion of fault in causing the accident, the compensation you may receive will be reduced by your percentage of negligence. If you file a personal injury claim seeking $10,000 and you are found to be 30 percent at fault, the value of your claim will be reduced by 30 percent. The new maximum amount of compensation you can receive is $7,000.

Furthermore, you cannot share the majority of fault in causing an auto accident. If you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot pursue compensation from the other party.

How Can I Avoid a Parking Lot Car Accident?

The NSC estimates that approximately 50,000 parking lot car accidents occur each year, resulting in more than 60,000 injuries and 500 or more deaths. To avoid auto accidents in parking lots, you should always pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

While driving in a parking lot, it is important that you remain alert and follow these safety tips:

  • Do not use hand-held electronic devices, such as cellphones or GPS devices, while driving in a parking lot.
  • Always drive defensively in parking lots. Remain cautious and watch out for distracted or negligent drivers who are not aware of your presence or may be driving too carelessly.
  • Always follow traffic laws while driving in a parking lot. Remember to drive the speed limit and obey traffic signs when driving through populated areas.
  • Remember to yield to other vehicles and pedestrians who have the right-of-way. This includes yielding to vehicles traveling in the thoroughfare and when you are backing out of a parking space.

Contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in parking lot car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment, lost income, and pain and suffering.

At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our trusted Fort Worth personal injury lawyers are ready to assist you in pursuing a claim against a negligent driver. We will help you determine if the other driver caused the crash and is liable for the injuries you suffered.

When working with our attorneys, you will not be charged upfront fees. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis and only require payment if we recover compensation for you.

Call (877) 920-9009 if you have been injured in a car accident.