Who’s At Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?
Parking lot accidents are exceedingly common in both Mississippi and the rest of the country. It’s no mystery why that’s the case — cars are in incredibly close proximity with one another, drivers need to watch for other cars and pedestrians, and drivers often have limited vision because of other parked cars. Many parking lot accidents can be blamed easily on a single driver, but often, determining fault is more complex. In this blog, we discuss common causes of parking lot collisions, determining fault after a parking lot accident, and comparative negligence in Mississippi.
Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
Different contributing factors can lead to parking lot accidents. Some of the most common causes include:
- A driver pulls out of a parking space and hits an oncoming car
- Two drivers back into one another
- Two drivers hit each when pulling into the parking space
- A driver mistakenly backs into an oncoming car
- A driver rear-ends a vehicle stopped at a parking lot stop sign
The busier the parking lot, the higher the likelihood that you’ll experience a parking lot accident. Congested parking lots are often a hotbed for fender benders because it’s harder to see oncoming cars when backing out of a parking space.
Additionally, those driving in parking lots often drive while distracted. They may feel they can multitask because they’re driving at a slow speed, but operating a vehicle while on the phone or engaged in another distraction can still lead to a car accident regardless of speed.
How Do You Determine Liability in a Parking Lot Accident?
When determining fault, police officers, insurance companies, and courts will focus on two major components. Firstly, if one vehicle was moving while the other was stationary, the driver with the non-stationary vehicle will likely be found liable. This would be the case if a driver hits your vehicle while you’re parked, stopped at a stop sign, or yielding to pedestrians.
The next component involves who had the right of way. If both vehicles were moving at the time of the wreck, one of the vehicles likely didn’t have the right of way, resulting in the crash. Drivers need to abide by road laws in parking lots, including yielding when it’s not your right of way. For example, if you mistakenly back into an oncoming car, the other driver had the right of way, so you would be held liable as long as the other driver was operating their vehicle at the appropriate speed limit.
Comparative Negligence in Mississippi
Mississippi is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that two or more drivers can be found partially responsible for a vehicular accident, and your percentage of liability impacts the amount you can recover in compensation.
Let’s say that you and another driver backed into one another in a parking lot, and neither of you had a clear right of way. You could both be held equally responsible for the accident, meaning the percentage of blame is apportioned 50/50. If you seek compensation from the other driver, your percentage of the blame impacts the amount you can recover. In this case, you would only be entitled to 50% of full compensation for damages.
What’s more often the case is that a single driver will primarily be at fault while the other driver bears a smaller percentage of the blame. For example, if someone backs into your vehicle while you had the right of way, they would likely be held primarily responsible, but if you were driving over the speed limit at the time of the accident, you could bear partial liability. If you receive 25% of the blame, that would negatively impact the amount you can recover in compensation by 25%.
Contact a Mississippi Car Accident Attorney
Numerous parking lot accidents occur every single day, and you shouldn’t have to pay or have your insurance pay for a wreck that wasn’t your fault. Also, parking lot collisions are typically mild, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune from experiencing an injury. Victims of parking lot accidents can still suffer from both mild and severe injuries, and you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for your medical bills if another driver caused your wreck. Whether the other driver was solely responsible for your wreck or you bore partial responsibility, you can recover compensation for vehicle damages, medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and more.
For legal guidance and representation in car accident and personal injury claims, contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC. We’ll help you recover the damages you deserve for your wreck, and we’ll work to maximize the amount you receive. Call our Jackson office at 601-203-4552, or you can schedule free case evaluation online here.