How safe are parking lots? What are your auto accident rights following an accident in a parking garage, shopping center, etc.? It is estimated that 20% of all motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots. Drivers and pedestrians should take extra care when traveling through parking lots, and should always be mindful of their auto accident rights when a collision occurs.
Dangerous Behaviors in Parking Lots
Parking lots are havens for bad behaving motorists. 63% of drivers admit to programming GPS systems while the vehicle is in motion. 56% text while exiting or entering the lot. 52% utilize social media, while 50% send or receive emails. It's estimated that roughly 66% of all drivers engage in at least one distracted driving behavior while in a parking lot.
These distractions take away the driver's focus from pedestrians and vehicular traffic around them. This increases the likelihood of a collision and puts public safety on the back burner of whatever is on the driver's mind. The risks are real and it is estimated that up to 50,000 parking lot crashes occur each year. These cause upwards of 60,000 personal injuries and roughly 500 fatalities.
Factors That Increase Accident Risk
While driver behavior is the most common cause of parking lot accidents, other factors can play a role as well. These include poor parking lot design, improper maintenance, inadequate lighting, and increased congestion over holiday shopping periods. When design and maintenance are factors in causing a parking lot crash, the owner of the store or the operator of the parking lot can be held liable for contributing to the accident.
Your Auto Accident Rights
Following a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for both personal injuries and property damage. You may pursue your claim against any liable party to the accident. You have the right to contact law enforcement and to file a police report. This is vital and you should never be coerced into not doing this, as the police report is a crucial piece of evidence.
When an accident occurs, you have the right to speak with witnesses, collect their contact information, and to use their testimony to support your auto accident claim. You also have the right to gather your own evidence by taking photos and video of the accident scene. At this time, you may also record statements from eyewitnesses. When doing this, it's advisable to record their consent on video.
Finally, you have the right to seek medical care and to remain silent when speaking with law enforcement, the other party, or the other party's insurance provider. This is crucial because anything you say or do can be used to refute your accident claim.
Brad Pistotnik Law is a Wichita law firm that represents clients in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois. Contact us today to learn more about your auto accident rights following a parking lot collision. We'll help you prepare your case so that you can prevail in your claim.