Who Is At Fault for an Accident in a Parking Lot?

Crowded parking lot seen from above

Parking lot accidents are frustrating, to say the least. You just want to go home or dash into the store, but someone runs right into you and causes a car accident that throws your entire day off. Or did you run into them?

Determining the at-fault party in a parking lot accident is rarely straightforward. Typically, both drivers involved will argue that the fender bender was caused by the other. Both might also have a compelling argument, too, based on what they know and witnessed.

Who is right then? Who is at fault for an accident in a parking lot? The answer varies from case to case, so it won’t always be the car that was backing out of a parking spot.

Parties that can be at fault or liable for a parking lot accident include:

  • Driver backing out of a spot: A driver who is backing out of a parking spot and runs into another vehicle is usually found to be completely or mostly at fault by insurance adjusters. Motorists need to use great caution when backing up, especially when there are adjacent vehicles that obscure their view and others driving around the lot. Even if a driver is halfway out of a spot, they should always yield to approaching vehicles to avoid a collision.
  • Driver looking for a spot: Drivers who are driving through a parking lot to find a spot or to leave the lot can be at fault for a crash if they are traveling too quickly. Speed limits in most parking lots are 10 mph or slower, so traveling above that rate can increase a driver’s liability. Distracted drivers in parking lots can also be at fault if they get hit by or bump into a driver backing up because it can be assumed that the accident would have been avoidable had that driver been paying attention.
  • Pedestrians in the lot: All drivers should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in parking lots, but this general rule does not excuse reckless pedestrian behaviors. Shoppers who dash unexpectedly into the path of vehicles will give the driver little to no time to react. In such a situation, the shopper could be liable for their own injuries and others if the driver panicked and swerved into another vehicle to try to avoid them.
  • Proprietor of the lot: The owner of a parking lot, which is sometimes the store that rents it, can be liable for a parking lot accident if they have contributed to unsafe conditions in the parking lot. For example, a store that allows shopping carts to clutter the parking lot in large numbers might be found partially liable if a driver swerves to avoid a runaway cart and runs into a lamppost.
  • Designer of the lot: Lastly, the company that designed and constructed the lot could be liable if there are defects in the design or build that could cause a parking lot accident. For example, a parking lot or structure has sharp, blind corners throughout it and there are no mirrors placed to let drivers see approaching vehicles. If there is a crash in those conditions, then the company that designed the lot could be to blame.

Need help figuring out who is at fault in a parking lot accident you were in while shopping in Myrtle Beach? Joye, Nappier, Risher, & Hardin LLC can help you. Call (843) 357-6454 and discuss what happened with our team. You can also use an online contact form if you prefer.

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