Like accidents on highways and roads, determining who is at fault for an accident in a parking lot is not always a simple matter. However, in any case, the party or parties that breached their duty of care will be at-fault for a parking lot accident.
Determining Fault and Liability in Atlanta Parking Lot Accidents
Like all personal injury claims, collecting a settlement depends on your ability to prove another party’s fault and liability in your accident. But to determine fault, we must first understand how to prove fault and liability.
Determining fault for an accident in a parking lot requires proving four elements. Those elements are:
· Duty of care
Duty of Care
Every driver has certain responsibilities and expectations when they take the road. The expectation of how another driver or party will act is duty of care.
Essentially, Georgia defines the duty of care as the expected reasonable actions drivers must take when navigating roads, intersections, and parking lots. The following are actions in a parking lot which would constitute reasonable care:
· Driving at a reasonable speed. Many parking lots post speed limits ranging from 10
to 15 miles per hour. However, even if there is not a posted speed limit, you should
not exceed reasonable speeds.
· Not driving recklessly.
· Not driving while intoxicated.
· Following the parking lot’s posted traffic rules. Many parking lots have one-way streets, stop signs, left or right turn only lanes, and more.
· Watching for any oncoming vehicles as you back out of parking spaces. The driver
pulling out of parking spaces must yield for oncoming vehicles.
Breach of Duty of Care
If the other party failed to fulfill its duties, then you might be able to prove negligence. For example, let us say you were driving in a parking lot with no stop sign in your path. However, a vehicle to your right did have a stop sign but ran it. If you collided with that vehicle, the driver would be at fault for the collision.
The other driver’s negligent behavior caused the accident and your injuries. Continuing our example from above: the driver ran a stop sign and T-boned your car. The impact caused you to suffer broken ribs.
You must have suffered damages in the accident. If you were involved in a parking lot accident but did not suffer emotional, physical, or financial harm, you do not have a case. Common damages include:
· Medical expenses
· Lost wages
· Pain and suffering
The S. Burke Law team can help you prove negligence as well as establish the damages you suffered.
Instances When Third Parties are At Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
While this does not happen very often, there are instances when neither party involved is at fault for the accident. This usually happens when there are conditions present at the site of the accident impairing the vision or judgments of the drivers.
For example, if there is excessive debris or damage (e.g., potholes) in a parking lot, this could contribute to your car accident. In this case, the property owner would not be fulfilling their duty of care. They might be negligent if they were aware of the unsafe conditions.
The designer/architect of the parking lot could also be at-fault for a collision if the design contributed to the accident occurring. For example, the designer created an intersection in the parking lot but did not place stop signs at the entrance to the intersection. If the lack of a stop sign is determined to be the cause of the collision, the designer may share fault.
Recovering Compensation If You Contributed to the Accident
Shared fault is common in all types of car accidents. You may still be entitled to compensation, even if you contributed to the collision. However, you must be 49 percent or less for the accident to recover compensation, per Georgia’s comparative negligence law.
Call an Atlanta Parking Accident Attorney
We expect entering and exiting parking lots to be the safest part of our outings. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. If you or someone you love was involved in a parking lot accident, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team has spent the last 20 years serving Atlanta residents such as yourself in personal injury cases. In that time, we have collected millions on behalf of our clients.
If you are curious how S. Burke Law can help you, reach us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. We will guide you through your options at no cost to you.