The driver in the back is usually considered at-fault in a rear-end collision, but when the accident happens in a parking lot, the outcome can vary. If the parking lot was on private property, like a shopping mall, the police often will not write tickets or assess fault. In that situation, you will have an uphill battle proving who caused the crash.
Not all rear-end collisions are the fault of the driver in the back. If the driver in front suddenly slammed on the brakes, that driver can be responsible for causing the accident. You might have to pursue compensation under the uninsured motorist coverage of your automobile insurance policy if you were rear-ended in a parking lot.
How to Establish the Liability of the At-Fault Driver
We have to prove all four of these elements to hold the driver responsible for your damages:
- Duty of care. Everyone who operates a motor vehicle in a public space has a duty to drive safely.
- Breach of duty. When someone’s behavior does not measure up to a legal duty of care, it is negligence. Let’s say that the person who rear-ended you was texting while driving at the time of the collision. Failure to maintain one’s attention on the road ahead is negligence because it violates the duty to drive safely.
- Causation. The negligent act must be what caused the accident. The texting driver rear-ended you because she was negligently paying attention to something other than the act of driving safely.
- Quantifiable Damages. You must have measurable damages as a result of the collision. Physical harm satisfies this element.
We can pursue money damages after we prove all four factors that establish the liability of the at-fault driver who rear-ended you.
Damages in Rear-End Collisions
We cannot say how much compensation you are likely to collect in your rear-end car accident case because every claim is unique. Your injuries might be different from those of another person who was in your car. The amount of your financial damages will depend on the facts of your situation.
Here are some of the types of damages we have won for our car accident clients:
- Lost wages. You can pursue compensation to replace the income that you lost while you could not work because of your injuries. This part of your claim can include lost wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of income.
- Diminished earning capacity. If you can no longer make as much money as before because of your injuries, you can pursue damages that make up the difference.
- Medical expenses. You can recover the reasonable cost of the medical treatment you needed for your injuries. The law does not limit this category of loss to your doctor bills. Your medical expenses can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, doctors, surgery, imaging studies like x-rays and CT scans, lab work like blood tests, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Specialized healthcare facility. In the event of a catastrophic injury like severe burns from the collision, you might have to go to a burn center for weeks or even months. If devastating injuries like spinal cord damage leave you in need of daily assistance with medical treatments and personal tasks, your damages could include long-term care.
- Wrongful death. If your close relative died from injuries sustained in the accident, there is a chance that you can sue for additional wrongful death damages for the eligible beneficiaries.
- Pain and suffering. Paying your medical bills does not compensate you for everything that you suffered, so this category of damages addresses the physical pain and emotional distress you endured.
- Other intangible losses. After a significant crash, many people experience intangible losses, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disfigurement, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Your situation might involve several of these categories of losses and some that are not on this list. When we investigate your claim, we will look for all possible types of compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
How Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works
You might need to use your uninsured motorist coverage after a being rear-ended in a parking lot (if you have this optional add-on). Sometimes the police refuse to come to the scene of accidents in parking lots, particularly if the parking lot is on private property.
The driver who hit you might not have insurance or might have fled the scene. We will have to explore the facts of your situation and read your insurance policy to see if your uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your losses.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Parking Lot Accident
At S. Burke Law, we take pride in delivering personal attention and high-quality legal services to our clients. We know that you are going through a difficult time, and we want to help you get back on your feet. We will treat you like family, and not like a number.
Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation before the statute of limitations lapses.