Parking lots can be particularly dangerous because traffic is coming in many different directions at higher than expected speeds, and traffic rules are not heavily enforced. According to the National Safety Council, there are tens of thousands of parking lot crashes every year, resulting in “hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.” This is especially true during the holidays due to the increase in traffic. To get our point across about how dangerous parking lots actually are, consider the findings from this poll where people admitted to engaging in the following activities while driving through parking lots:
- Using their GPS (63%)
- Texting (56%)
- Using social media (52%)
- Sending or receiving emails (50%)
- Watching videos or taking pictures (49%)
If you have recently been involved in a parking lot accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an Orange County parking lot accident attorney at the Crockett Law Group to learn about how we can help you maximize your settlement. Call (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation with our car accident attorneys in Orange County.
What Are the Main Causes of Accidents in Parking Lots?
First, let’s consider the ways in which a driver might be at fault for hitting a pedestrian in a parking lot:
Failure to check for pedestrians
Close to 10% of all pedestrian fatalities in parking lots are caused by cars backing up without first checking for pedestrians. Even though many of today’s vehicles are equipped with backup cameras, they’re intended to assist with parking and not necessarily with catching pedestrians walking behind your vehicle.
Distractions include programming your GPS, texting, emailing, taking pics, and virtually anything else that doesn’t involve driving.
Mistaking the reverse and drive gears
Pulling into and out of a parking spot often requires changing back-and-forth between reverse and drive gears, so mistakes are bound to happen.
Drivers are often so focused on looking for an available spot that they lose sight of their environment.
Now let’s look at the ways in which a pedestrian might be at fault for causing an accident in a parking lot:
- Failure to use crosswalks when they’re available
- Failure to make eye contact and instead just assume the driver sees them
- Distracted walking, like using a cell phone or texting
Vehicle Occupants Sustain Serious Injuries in Parking Lot Accidents
It’s important to note that parking lot accidents can cause serious injuries even when a pedestrian isn’t involved. There is a misperception that when a parking lot accident is between two cars, it must be a minor “fender bender” that couldn’t possibly have caused injuries to anyone involved. That’s far from the truth.
For example, we see drunk driving accidents happen all the time in parking lots because that’s where people leave bars, get in their cars, and floor the gas pedal. We also see a lot of vehicle vs. vehicle parking lot accidents happen when a vehicle enters the parking lot at roadway speeds, failing to adjust for lower parking lot speeds. Perhaps one of the most common scenarios we see is where a vehicle fails to stop at a posted stop sign in the parking lot and T-bones another car.
The reason we make note of this is that chances are if you were injured in a parking lot accident, the other driver’s insurance company will claim there is “no mechanism for injury” (that’s insurance lingo). The insurance adjuster is essentially making the argument that a low-speed impact that results in minor property damage can’t cause serious injuries even though studies show “there is a lack of relationship between occupant injury, vehicle speed and/or damage.” In fact, crash tests indicate that a change of vehicle velocity of just 2.5 mph can cause injury.
The insurance adjuster knows this by the way; they just don’t care. The reason they make this argument is that it’s fairly successful with juries. They can easily blow up a photograph that depicts very little property damage and then tells the jury that injuries could not have occurred with such a relatively minor impact. That doesn’t make it true, though.
That’s why you need an experienced parking lot accident attorney in Orange County, CA, to help you collect the maximum amount of compensation.
What Are Common Injuries From Parking Lot Accidents?
Pedestrians usually sustain the most serious injuries in parking lot accidents because their bodies are unprotected.
These are some of the most common types of injuries we see to pedestrians in parking lot accidents:
- Head injuries from being knocked to the ground while unprotected.
- Shoulder injuries from being hit on the one side and then falling onto the other.
- Wrist and hand injuries due to bracing for the fall.
- Knee injuries from being hit primarily on your lower body.
- Broken bones and fractures, particularly to your legs.
- Lacerations and bruises from colliding with the hood, windshield, and/or asphalt.
What Compensation Can Injured Victims Get for a Parking Lot Accident?
Victims of parking lot accidents are entitled to compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic losses refer to reimbursement for your medical expenses, transportation costs, lost earnings, and any other money you’ve paid out-of-pocket as a result of the accident.
Economic losses can be substantial if you were transported by ambulance to the emergency room and then subsequently admitted and/or forced to undergo extensive diagnostics, like x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans.
In some cases, economic losses can be very substantial. For example, consider a model that now has a scar on her face or a professional athlete that lost the use of a leg. These victims are entitled to compensation for the money they would have made if the accident had not occurred.
Non-economic losses refer to the subjective monetary value of the pain, suffering, and mental anguish you endured from the injuries you sustained.
Non-economic losses can be even more substantial than economic losses, arguably. For example, consider a model that sustains scars on her face or a professional athlete that loses the use of a leg. But you don’t need to be a model or an athlete to have a substantial pain and suffering claim, you just need the right attorney to help tell your story.
Review Your Claim With an Orange County Parking Lot Accident Attorney
Parking lot accidents are not always low impact collisions. Catastrophic injuries and fatalities can and do occur. This is especially true when pedestrians are involved, and even more true when children are involved. As Consumer Reports points out, children can be very difficult to see in a busy parking lot, especially at night. An excited child might dart out from between cars and in front of you in a blink of an eye.
Obviously, a pedestrian who is hit by a car can be injured, even at low parking lot speeds. But when two vehicles are involved, it’s usually a dogfight with the insurance company to prove that the accident was substantial enough to cause injuries. That’s why you need an experienced attorney.
As parking lot accident injury lawyers, we regularly represent the interests of victims who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. The Crockett Law Group is committed to handling your injury claim from start to finish and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of a parking lot accident, contact the Crockett Law Group to speak with one of our personal injury lawyers in Orange County at (800) 900-9393.