Who Is At-Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?

Carla Pinto expert advice

Carla Pinto

“If you’ve been involved in an accident in a parking lot, even though a parking lot is owned by a private entity, there are still laws and rules that you have to adhere based on the directions of where you’re driving.”

Car accidents can be challenging to work through, but those in parking lots pose additional struggles. Since private companies own many parking lots, they are not always subject to the same traffic laws as other areas. However, certain right-of-way rules do apply in parking lot accidents which can help inform who is at-fault for the incident.

Right-Of-Way Rules in a Parking Lot Accident

While parking lots are private property, they still have rules of the road that drivers must follow. Parking lots have two types of traffic lanes. Main or access lanes refer to the lanes that lead in and out of the parking lot. Cars access the lot through these lanes. The second type of lanes are known as feeder lanes, which run up and down among the rows of parking spaces.

Drivers must adhere to the following right-of-way rules when driving in a parking lot:

  • All drivers must obey traffic signs in a parking lot, including stop and yield signs.
  • All drivers in feeder lanes must yield to oncoming traffic when they are trying to access a main lane.
  • All drivers on the main lane have the right-of-way in parking lots. However, they must follow all posted traffic signs.
  • When drivers are pulling out of a parking spot, they must yield to drivers in the feeder lanes.
  • Drivers pulling out of a parking space must check for vehicles and pedestrians in the feeder lane before they leave.

Common Types of Parking Lot Accidents

Any type of accident can occur in a parking lot. However, certain accidents occur at higher rates than others do. These common situations give us a clear picture of how right-of-way rules operate in parking lots and how they can apply to an insurance claim.

  • A driver may pull forward out of a parking space and collide into another car driving in a lane of traffic. Drivers in main and feeder lanes have the right-of-way over vehicles pulling out of parking spaces. As a result, the driver pulling out of the spot will likely be liable for the accident.
  • A driver may collide into another vehicle waiting at a stop sign. All drivers must follow posted traffic signs, so the driver colliding into the parked vehicle will likely be responsible for the crash.
  • Two drivers may compete for the same parking spot and collide into each other. Both drivers are moving, but the driver turning across traffic must yield to oncoming cars. As a result, the driver turning left will likely be at-fault for the accident.
  • A driver could back out of a parking space and collide with an oncoming car. Drivers pulling out of spaces have a responsibility to check for oncoming traffic before back up. As a result, the driver backing up will likely be responsible for the accident.
  • Two drivers may back out of parking spaces at the same time and collide. In this situation, neither driver has the right-of-way. As a result, both drivers will likely share equal liability for the accident.

Why You Need an Attorney for Your Parking Lot Accident Claim

Parking lot accidents can be complicated, especially when you are trying to receive compensation for your losses. You must file a claim with your insurance company in order to receive coverage for medical expenses and property damage. In these cases, you should hire an NYC car accident attorney to help negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

  • Your attorney can launch an investigation into your accident and determine the at-fault driver for the accident.
  • Your attorney has the negotiation skills necessary to argue for a higher settlement on your behalf with the insurance company.
  • Your attorney can help you accurately calculate your damage and determine if your insurance company is offering you a fair settlement.

The deadlines for filing a car accident claim can vary. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin the process today.