Who is At Fault in a Parking Lot or Garage Accident?
Parking garages and parking lots are places where there is a lot of potential for car accidents. Everyone is in a hurry, there is limited visibility, and spaces are cramped. During holidays or weekends, even the work week, at a sporting event, concert, or college campus, there are many people trying to do the same thing – get into and out of the parking lot or garage.
If you are backing up there may be some blind spots. Suddenly, you hit someone or another car. It’s a good idea to know your rights before this happens.
Your first thought might be “What do I do now?” It’s most convenient to drive away and consider the consequences later and if the damage is minor that might be fine. In fact, in Alabama if the property damage to your car does not exceed $250.00, that is exactly what you can do. The other alternative is to report the minor damage to your insurance carrier, but that could raise your insurance rates.
The time when you definitely have to report an accident in a parking garage or parking lot is when there is injury or death involved. After calling police, report the accident the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS).
At the very least, exchange information with the other driver including the tag number, insurance number and carrier, the other driver’s license number, the make and model of the car. Take some pictures of the accident damage with your smart phone. Also note the conditions at the time – was it raining, crowded, freezing temperatures? Were there any witnesses? You will need their information as well.
It is especially important when you exchange information with the other driver that you do not admit fault and do not discuss fault for the accident. That could be used against you later in a court of law or during the settlement process.
Alabama is an At-Fault State
Alabama is an at-fault state meaning that the driver at-fault is responsible to cover your losses and damages. Your legal representative will have to determine the conditions under which the accident happened in order to determine the at-fault party. However, if you are even one percent responsible for the accident, under Alabama’s contributory negligence doctrine, the other side will argue it should not have to pay.
Consider how one could be at fault in a parking lot or garage accident:
- A driver backing into oncoming traffic would be at-fault
- A driver who enters the through lane without yielding to the car already there could be at-fault
- A driver who does not stop for a yield or stop sign could be considered at-fault
- A driver who is speeding through a parking lot or garage could be considered at-fault
- When drivers blindly back into each other simultaneously, it would be difficult to assess blame
Oftentimes we find that a parking lot or garage will have a camera so we have visual proof of how the accident happened.
Accident Liability Insurance
In Alabama, under state law you must purchase an automobile policy that contains a liability clause. This will provide $25,000 coverage for death or bodily injury and $50,000 if two people are killed or injured. Also included in this liability insurance policy is $25,000 to cover damage of property such as your car, for example.
In the case of a parking lot or garage accident, especially where there are injuries, your legal representative might need to consider whether conditions in the parking facility might have contributed to the collision. It could be considered premises liability case if the garage was designed in such a way that accidents were inevitable.
The law firm of Chip Nix would investigate the contribution of a third party to the conditions that led to the accident such as a blind spot, too tight quarters to maneuver, or dark areas with little signage.
If you are involved in a parking lot or garage accident and there are injuries, seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. As we do the legwork necessary to bring a claim against the at-fault party, attorney Chip Nix will use his 40 years of experience to aggressively advocate for your compensation. A consultation on your case is complimentary at 334-279-7770.