Parking lot crashes are common across the state, especially during high-shopping seasons over the holidays and other major events. To reduce the number of these crashes, Florida drivers can implement safe driving practices and keep an eye out for dangerous driving behaviors.
Common Causes of Parking Lot Crashes
Five common factors cause many parking lots crashes in Florida. These mistakes are very common and while the actions involved do not always cause an accident, continuing to make these mistakes can put drivers and passengers at risk.
- Collision over a parking space. Many drivers have competed with others over the last open spot in a crowded parking lot. However, this competition can lead to accidents and collisions – two cars who jockey for the same spot can easily collide. Either party can be at fault in this situation.
- Driving into oncoming traffic. Some drivers can pull forward out of their spaces and enter into oncoming traffic. As a result, the moving cars collide with the oncoming driver. In most of these cases, the oncoming driver is at fault.
- Backing up into another car. Some drivers back out of their parking spaces without looking behind them or checking for other cars. In addition, oncoming cars can fail to yield to cars that are clearly backing out of space. Whatever the situation, failure to stop or check for other cars can lead to collisions. Either party can be at fault.
- Backing into each other. Sometimes, both drivers back out of their parking spaces without checking for other vehicles. As a result, they both pull out of their spaces and collide with each other. Either party can be at fault in this situation.
- Rear-ending at stop signs. Drivers should always come to a complete stop at a stop sign. However, not all drivers adhere to this traffic law. If a driver comes to a full stop at a stop sign and a moving car fails to stop, a collision will occur. In most of these situations, the moving car is at fault.
Determining Liability in Parking Lot Crashes
Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that drivers injured in parking lot crashes will first have to file a claim with their own insurance companies before they can seek action against the other driver. However, determining liability in these accidents is important if the injuries suffered exceed the policy limits or personal injury protection coverage.
Finding who is responsible for a parking lot accident requires a case-by-case review and no two cases will be the same. However, general liability is most common around a few types of parking lot crashes.
- Collision over parking space: Because both cars are moving, a court could assign some fault to both drivers. However, determining who had the right-of-way can point to a negligent driver. The driver turning left will likely receive the majority of the liability.
- Driving into oncoming traffic: The driver pulled into traffic has the responsibility to yield to oncoming traffic. In most cases, the oncoming driver will receive the majority of fault.
- Backing up into a passing car: Both cars are moving, but the driver backing up has the responsibility to check for other cars. The driver backing out will likely receive the majority of fault.
- Backing into each other: When two cars back into each other, both cars were moving at the time of the accident and neither driver has the right-of-way. In addition, both drivers had the responsibility to look for other vehicles before backing up. It is quite unlikely that one driver would be completely liable for this accident while the other collects damages. Unless a driver can prove that the other showed clear and specific negligence, juries will say that the driver shared fault.
- Rear-ending at stop signs: The driver who rear-ends the driver stopped at the sign will bear most or all the liability.
For best results in determining liability, drivers involved in parking lot crashes should contact a Miami car accident attorney to investigate the accidents on their behalf.