How Can I Avoid Parking Accidents?

parking accidents

Most car accidents and truck accidents that happen in parking lots are minor. They are just fender-benders where the only thing damaged is a few bumpers or scratched doors. But sometimes, parking lot accidents can be serious and can involve significant injuries. Just picture the last time you were in a large parking lot, whether at a mall, big box retail store, or a parking garage. There are always cars and trucks going way too fast for the amount of traffic, especially when it is on a busy shopping day. Go to your local big box store on a busy Saturday and you will see hundreds of vehicles zipping around. Every time you go shopping in one of the stores, there is the risk that you might be hit by another driver.

Parking lot car wrecks are treated differently under Maryland law because, technically, the accident did not happen on a road, but on private property. The rules of the road do not actually apply to privately owned roads and parking lots that are on private property. Therefore, how do you decide who is at fault, and how will the automobile insurance companies decide who is going to pay what amount? That is why if you are in one of the accidents and are injured, it is important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer to help you through the process. Also, the most important issue is how you can avoid parking lot accidents in the first place.

Tips to Prevent Parking Lot Accidents

The rules of preventing parking lot accidents are very similar to the rules of staying out of car wrecks on the roads and highways of Maryland.

  • Slow down:  Driving too fast is the number one cause of accidents, whether on the roads or in parking lots. Either the at-fault driver is going too fast, or you are going too fast and cannot react in time. If you are driving slowly and in a controlled manner, you have a better chance of spotting unsafe drivers and stopping in time.
  • Look out for pedestrians:  Pedestrian accidents are extremely common in parking lots. And it makes sense, since everyone is either walking to or from their cars. The National Safety Council analysis of government data shows that nine percent of pedestrian deaths are the result of backup accidents. Pedestrians may not be looking for you, but you must still keep an eye out for them. Keep a watchful eye on any pedestrians who may cross your path and obey all crosswalks in the parking lot. When entering high-traffic areas where there are a lot of people, take your foot off the gas and apply the brake gradually.
  • Set your side mirrors correctly:  An ability to see all around you, especially in your vehicle’s natural blind spots, will go a long way to keeping you out of accidents or hitting pedestrians. A side note to this pointer is to also use a back-up camera. Most modern vehicles have them. But if your vehicle does not, you can purchase one at a reasonable cost and they are easily installed.
  • Avoid shopping at peak times:  Saturday and Sunday are the busiest grocery days of the week. Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to shop for the least amount of traffic.  Getting up as early as feasible in the day may also help avoid a busy parking lot.

Maryland’s Fault Insurance System and Parking Lot Accidents

Maryland automobile accident laws follow a traditional fault system. The insurer for the at-fault driver will have to pay any injured motorists, passengers, or pedestrians up to their automobile insurance policy limits. Therefore, in a realistic sense, the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver would be responsible for compensating any injured drivers, passengers, or pedestrians until their coverage was exhausted.

However, cases involving parking lot accidents are harder to win because the normal rules of the road do not technically apply. In some cases, it will be hard to prove that the other driver was at fault. The best course of action when you get hit by another driver is to call the police immediately. Dial 911 even if no one appears to be immediately hurt. Sometimes injuries from accidents can crop up much later. And even with minor fender-benders where the impact is at lower speeds, drivers and passengers of vehicles can still be violently thrown about their cars. A simple rear-end collision can cause significant whiplash injuries.

The other important thing to do if you are in one of these accidents is to contact an experienced car and truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can use their knowledge, skills, and resources to help investigate the accident. Here are some things that your car accident lawyer can do:

  • Take detailed photographs of the scene of the accident.
  • Locate and secure any video of the of the scene such as security camera footage from the store.
  • Track down and locate any witnesses at the scene and get their recorded statements to use later if necessary.
  • Obtain the police accident report.
  • If necessary, hire an accident reconstruction expert who will take all the evidence and recreate the accident, proving the other driver caused the injuries.

What Are the Main Causes of Parking Lot Accidents in Maryland?

There are many causes of parking lot accidents. Some of them are similar to the causes of car wrecks on the main roads, but they are heightened in parking lots because of the increased number of vehicles jammed together in one area. Also, there are many more pedestrians around, as compared with driving on the roads and highways of Maryland. Here are the main causes of parking lot accidents:

  • Drivers reversing out of parking spots too quickly, combined with not adequately looking before they pull out. This is where many pedestrians get hit.
  • Drivers not following right-of-way arrows and traveling the wrong way. This is a recipe for disaster. It is the equivalent of a vehicle driving down a busy one-way road in the wrong direction.
  • Drivers often ignore stop signs in parking lots, or do not come to a complete stop. Because the laws concerning stop signs do not really apply in parking lots, some drivers believe that they can just run a stop sign without looking around them.
  • As always, when a driver tailgates another vehicle and follows too closely, a rear-end accident can happen.
  • Bad weather, including ice and snow, is a particular danger for parking lots. Unlike main roads and highways that are usually treated before storms and plowed during and after snow and ice storms, the maintenance of parking lots is the responsibility of the property owner. Sometimes, the owner of the parking lot fails to clear the parking lot of ice and/or snow. This makes it a dangerous area to drive on, particularly when some vehicles are going way too fast for the weather conditions. 
  • Distracted driving is as much of a danger in parking lots as it is on main roads. Actually, it is much more of a problem because in many parking lot accidents, it is caused by people not paying attention to where they are going because they are looking for open parking spots.

Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Injured in a Parking Lot Accident

Parking lot accidents happen all the time, and many pedestrians each year are hit by cars and trucks in parking lots. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a parking lot accident, contact the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our legal team will be your advocate to secure full and fair compensation. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.