Accidents in parking lots happen all throughout the year. These accidents can be minor and result in minimal damages or they can be serious and result in extensive injuries or even death. Nowadays many new model cars are equipped with backup cameras or side cameras. These devices can help to prevent accidents because they give drivers an unobstructed view of what lies behind or to the side of the car. However, these devices are not fool proof. Drivers still need to use caution and can only rely on the cameras so much.
Types of Parking Lot Accidents
There are generally two types of parking lots accidents that you can get into: accidents that occur when you are in a car and accidents that occur when you are not in a car.
Accidents When You Are In A Car
Accidents that occur in a car usually happen when one or both drivers is not using reasonable care in the operation of their vehicle. Accidents can happen in any number of ways:
- A car speeding through a parking lot striking another car
- Two cars can back up at the same time and hit each other
- A driver, who didn't check to make sure it was clear, backs out of a parking spot and hits a car or person in the aisle
- A driver turns down an aisle too quickly and hits another car
- A driver stops suddenly and rear-ends another car
- If two cars are trying to get into the same spot, they could crash into each other
- If a driver fails to follow the parking lots traffic signs, such as a stop sign, that driver could cause a crash
- A driver who does not yield to oncoming traffic when turning at the end of a row could strike another vehicle
Hit And Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents can, and do, happen in parking lots. If a person comes back from shopping and sees that their car has new scratches or dings in it, that person would likely look for a note underneath the windshield wiper. Dings and scratches can happen fairly easily in parking lots. For example, a driver could back out of a spot, think they have enough room to pull out, and then hit a car behind him. Or, a driver could turn to pull in a space and misjudge the distance between the front of their car and the car parked next to the open spot. Either way, if a driver hits another car and does not leave their insurance information, then that driver may have committed a hit-and-run. If you find your car has been struck and no information was left behind, in order to have repairs done, you can use your uninsured motorist coverage. If you do not have such coverage, then you may be responsible for the cost of repair.
Accidents When You Are Not In A Car
The other main type of accident that people can get into in a parking lot is an accident where the person is not in a car. These usually happen when a person gets hit by a car while walking in the parking lot. These types of accidents could happen in any number of ways, such as when a pedestrian or a child walks behind a car. These types of accidents can be serious even at slow speeds if the pedestrian hits his or her head on the ground or suffers a back injury.
The decision to file a lawsuit will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. If you or a loved one has suffered significant damages, they may choose to file a lawsuit against the person who's negligent actions injured you or your loved one. Personal injury cases proceed on the theory of negligence. Negligence can be defined as "[t]he failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation." Black's Law Dictionary 1133 (9th ed. 2009). For example, driving too fast in a parking lot could be considered negligent.
Comparative Negligence In Colorado
A defendant may claim that you were comparatively negligent in an accident. Under comparative negligence, if a plaintiff is partially responsible for an accident, then any damage award the plaintiff gets is reduced by the amount of that plaintiff's negligence. There are a few types of comparative negligence. In Colorado, in order to recover damages a plaintiff's negligence must be less than the defendant's. C.R.S. 13-21-111 (2016).
For example, Patricia had gone to the grocery store on a particularly busy Saturday. She had finished her shopping, had loaded her purchases into her car and was getting ready to leave. Patricia put her car in reverse, checked to make sure it was clear and started to back out. All of a sudden a car comes speeding around the end of the row, heading for an open spot close to the door. Patricia sees the car and pulls out anyway, assuming that the car would stop. She has enough time to stop pulling out into the aisle but chooses not to. The driver of the speeding car, Doug, saw Patricia pulling out but wanted to snag the open spot so he assumed she will stop and continues down the aisle. Doug hits the rear side of Patricia's car. Both cars have damage and Patricia ends up with a bad back injury.
Patricia and Doug cannot agree on who is at fault. At trial, a jury decides that both parties are at fault for the accident. They determine that both parties are equally at fault for the accident. Because Patricia's fault is not less than Doug's, she cannot recover any damages. Had the jury found her to be 49% at fault and Doug 51% at fault, then she could have recovered compensation. Whatever damages she is awarded by the jury would be reduced by her percentage of fault. For example, if the jury awarded her $100,000 in damages, Patricia would receive just 51% of that. Thus, she would receive $51,000.
Contact A Denver Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one are injured in a parking lot accident, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today. Jeremy has been working as a personal injury attorney in Colorado for over a decade. Let his extensive knowledge and experience work for you and your loved ones. You can call the office today for a free consultation at (303) 825-2223, or you can click here to fill out the online form.