Who Has the Right of Way in a Parking Lot?

Vehicle parked in lot with question mark. Who has right of way in parking area?

Right of way in a parking lot may belong to the vehicles in the primary lanes, the vehicle on the right side, or the vehicle navigating the aisles. However, the right of way can be more complex, and having the right of way does not always mean you are clear to go no matter what.

You may find yourself in a complicated position when navigating a parking lot. You may be backing out of a parking spot or traveling through the lane looking for an open spot. The next thing you know, you have been struck by another driver, and you may be unsure where to begin with your case.

Fortunately, at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we have the tools to help you identify who has the right of way in your particular parking spot accident. Understanding basic right-of-way laws in California can help you avoid accidents like these, but if you are involved in one, do not hesitate to reach out. Our car accident attorneys are prepared to help guide our clients to compensation after a parking lot accident.

Table of Contents

Right of Way Goes to Those in the Driving Lane

Generally, the right of way in a parking lot belongs to those in the driving lane. That means that if you try to back out of a parking spot, you must always yield to oncoming traffic. However, the rules may be more complex depending on the specifics of your parking lot accident.

For example, you may not have been in a vehicle but were struck as a pedestrian. In other cases, neither driver may have been in a parking spot. Look at the following situations that may appear as you navigate the right-of-way and travel through a parking lot while following the laws listed under California Vehicle Code 22500.

Feeder Lanes Have Priority Over Parking Spaces

First, if you are in a parking spot, you must yield to all oncoming traffic. It may be frustrating to frequently begin backing out of the place only to pull back in, but the other drivers around you usually have priority. If you are backing out and see that another driver is coming at speed, go ahead and begin pulling back into the spot to yield to the driver.

When traveling through the parking lot, keep in mind that there are two types of these traffic lanes as well. You have access lanes, which refer to lanes that allow you in and out of the parking lot, and feeder lanes, which are the lanes running among the rows of parking spaces. Typically, drivers in parking spaces must yield to feeder lanes, but remember that feeder lanes should generally yield for oncoming traffic in access lanes unless traffic signs state otherwise.

Pro Tip
If you try to back out of a parking space and see another driver coming, never assume they will stop. Not only do they have the right of way, but it may be more difficult to see you back out due to larger vehicles or other obstructions in the parking lot.

Always Give Pedestrians the Right of Way

No matter whether you are pulling away from a parking spot or traveling in a feeder or access lane, always yield to pedestrians. Unlike drivers, pedestrians do not have any external protections like airbags, seat belts, and a metal frame to protect them from injury in an accident. Because of this, the safety of pedestrians must always take priority when traversing a parking lot.

Because pedestrians are expected to stay within crosswalks or other designated areas, be sure always to stay alert for pedestrians and other places. For example, a pedestrian may be walking across the parking lot in search of their vehicle away from the designated crosswalks. Watching out for these people on the street can help avoid an accident that can be especially dangerous for them.

Always Yield to Vehicles on the Right

In some cases, you may be in a situation where you and another vehicle are approaching each other in the parking lot. In these cases, the car on the right always has the right of way. If there is not enough room for both vehicles to pass, or if another car is trying to turn, the vehicle on the left must wait its turn.

This also applies when two vehicles are backing out at the same time. If they are about to collide, the vehicle on the right has the right of way and should be given the space to move first. If the other vehicle does not yield, they may be held liable for the parking lot accident, requiring help from car accident lawyers like ours.

Follow Any Traffic Signs in the Parking Lot

In some situations, especially in parking lots with heavy traffic flow, you may also have stop and yield signs across the parking lot. These may be placed around crosswalks, busy intersections, and more. In these situations, always follow the traffic signs first.

Also, be sure to stop completely at a stop sign or traffic light. If you fail to stop your vehicle completely, you are not only violating California Vehicle Code 22450, but you may also be unable to stop in time to avoid a serious accident.

Maintaining Safe Speeds Is Crucial to Avoiding a Parking Lot Accident

When you are traveling through a parking lot, driving at high speeds can be dangerous. You may not have much time to stop when someone begins backing up, and while you may have the right of way, it is still always best to drive safely to avoid an accident. Even if the other party may be at fault, you may be given partial or total liability for the accident if you were speeding.

Higher speeds can also lead to more serious accidents. While you may not be able to drive especially fast in a parking lot, speeding can drastically increase the risk of an accident. For example, while parking lot accidents are at a much lower speed, one study by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) showed that increasing speed from 55 to 65 mph led to a 3.3% increase in the total number of crashes.

Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Accident Depends on Right of Way and Other Details

When an accident happens in a parking lot, right-of-way rules can help you determine exactly who is at fault for your accident. In many cases, if one party or the other does not understand these regulations, it can lead to dangerous accidents that can hurt your future. However, not all parking lot accident cases are so clear-cut.

For example, the layout of the parking lot may have contributed to your accident. No matter the cause of your accident, we are here to determine why it happened and what steps you can take to pursue compensation. Below is a list of common at-fault parties that can impact a parking lot accident case like yours.

One of the Drivers May Be At Fault

In many cases, parking lot accidents are caused because one party or the other failed to follow the right-of-way rules in a parking lot. For example, the other driver may not have looked as they were backing up, and they struck you as you passed through that lane. In other cases, they may have simply assumed that you could see them and would stop in time, leading to an accident.

When another driver is distracted or otherwise not following the traffic laws involving parking lots, it can lead to a crash that impacts your future. Fortunately, if they were not following laws regarding parking lot driving, you may have grounds to pursue a case. We can help you identify the best possible evidence to hold them accountable for their actions.

Pedestrians Can Be Held Liable

Generally speaking, pedestrians are given the right of way, as they are much more vulnerable than a driver behind the wheel. However, pedestrians can also be careless, and that carelessness can lead to an accident. If your accident was caused by a pedestrian who was distracted, you may have grounds to take action.

For example, a pedestrian may have suddenly run into the lane from between or behind other vehicles or been walking or running erratically across the parking lot. In those cases, you may not have had time to stop, or you may have had to swerve to avoid hitting them and striking another vehicle. In these cases, the pedestrian may be held liable for these actions, so speak to us about holding them liable.

Parking Lot Owners Can Also Cause Dangerous Situations

In some cases, even drivers doing their best to stay safe can find themselves in a parking lot accident. Sometimes, the parking lot may simply be unsafely designed or need major repairs to be safe. If the parking lot owner is aware of these issues and does nothing to repair them or even warns guests about them, they may be held financially responsible for your injuries.

For example, a broken curb may have caused you to lose control of your vehicle and hit another car. Narrow, winding paths between parking spaces or inadequate lighting may make it difficult to see other drivers, leading to an accident. If the property owner fails to repair these issues, contact us for help.

If you struggle to determine fault for your accident, you can always pursue answers with a lawyer. We have the tools to help you identify the liable party and take action.

Even Parking Lot Accident Injuries Can Be Severe

Parking lot accidents are typically at low speeds, as one car may travel down a feeder lane, or another may pull out of a parking spot. However, even low-speed accidents can come with serious injuries, and in some cases, you may even suffer catastrophic injuries. While these situations are rare, talk to us if you have suffered any of these accident injuries in a parking lot crash:

While parking lot accidents are rarely fatal, you can also reach out to us. If your loved one was involved in a fatal accident, we can help you file a wrongful death claim. We are prepared to help our clients navigate any type of claim, and we offer the tools and resources needed to help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.

If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, consider keeping an ongoing record of your recovery. Keeping this record can help you track your progress, setbacks, and other details of your recovery.

How Text Kevin Accident Attorneys Can Help You Navigate Your Parking Lot Accident

Following a parking lot accident, you may be unsure whether your case is serious enough to warrant hiring attorneys like ours. However, we are here to help you get compensated fairly when another person fails to follow the rules of the road and causes your injuries. We offer top-tier legal guidance throughout your insurance claim or lawsuit.

When you are involved in an accident of any kind, attorney Kevin Crockett and the rest of our team are prepared to take action. That starts with identifying whether you have grounds for a case, who is at fault, and what damages you may pursue for your accident. We offer diligent research and investigation throughout your case so that you can focus on your health instead.

We also offer legal representation for clients concerned about making mistakes during their cases. Speaking with your insurance company or presenting your claim in court without help can be difficult, as you may be unfamiliar with courtroom procedure, and the insurance company may use anything you say against your case. We are here to provide an aggressive, personalized defense for the compensation you are due.

Seek a Top-Tier, Aggressive Defense from Our Law Firm When You Are Injured in a Parking Lot Accident

Navigating a parking lot comes with its own challenges, and it may lead to complex cases where you may be unsure where to turn or what your claim is worth. You may even be uncertain whether you have grounds for a claim or who is at fault for your accident. If you have any questions about the right of way in a parking lot and what you can expect from your case, you may need to seek help from our personal injury attorneys at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys.

When you are involved in a parking lot accident, you need support on your side from attorneys like Kevin Crockett, who brings a powerful defense with years of experience to every case we handle. Reach out for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case by calling or filling out our online contact form.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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