Car accident in the parking lot

Parking Lot Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

Diehl & Hubbell, LLC May 7, 2024

While parking lot accidents might not be as dramatic as highway collisions, they are surprisingly common and often a source of confusion when it comes to determining fault.  

Fortunately, our team of attorneys at Diehl & Hubbell, LLC proudly assist those involved in parking lot accidents. We have the legal knowledge and experience to help you pursue the compensation you deserve for any damages.  

Our firm proudly represents clients in Southwestern Ohio, including Warren, Clinton, Highland, Clermont, and Butler Counties. Schedule a consultation today to get the help you need.  

Common Parking Lot Accidents 

Imagine a busy afternoon at your local shopping center, and you're circling the parking lot in search of a spot. Suddenly, a car backs out without noticing your approach. The result is a crunched fender and a lot of frustration, but who's at fault? These minor yet impactful moments occur daily in parking lots across Ohio, resulting from various factors. Here are several key parking lot accident scenarios you should know about: 

  • Backing Out: Back-over accidents are frighteningly common. A driver, in the haste to leave, puts their car in reverse without properly checking the blind spots. The consequences can be devastating when pedestrians or other vehicles are in the way. In Ohio, determining fault in these scenarios can be complex, as it often involves the driver's negligence in checking the surroundings.  

  • The Right-of-Way: Parking lots have intricate systems of right-of-way rules that conflict with shared small spaces. Perimeter lanes typically offer more straightforward guidelines, while inner rows and crossings mandate a fine-tuned dance between drivers. Understanding these rules is critical in avoiding accidents and establishing fault. 

  • Pedestrians: The mix of pedestrian and vehicle traffic is a recipe for potential disaster. Ohio's laws are particularly stringent when it comes to pedestrian safety, placing added responsibility on drivers to yield at crosswalks and on shared pathways. 

  • Design Misfortunes: Sometimes, a parking lot's design contributes to an accident. Poorly placed stop signs, inadequate lighting, and confusing layouts can all lead to serious misunderstandings and, ultimately, collisions.  

Determining Fault in Parking Lot Accidents 

When it comes to parking lot accidents in Ohio, determining fault is not a cut-and-dry process. The state's comparative negligence laws add an extra layer of complexity to the issue of who's responsible. What exactly does this mean for drivers involved in an accident? 

Well, Ohio follows a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning that fault is distributed among all the parties involved. If you bear some fault for the accident, your recoverable damages are reduced by your percentage of fault. If your contribution to the accident exceeds 50%, you may not be entitled to any compensation. 

Fault determination is crucial in parking lot accidents, especially when it comes to insurance coverage and potential legal action. Establishing fault can directly impact the financial responsibility of all parties involved.

Post-Accident: What to Do and What Not to Do 

In the immediate aftermath of a parking lot accident, your actions can significantly impact the resolution of the incident. Here is a comprehensive guide on what to do after an accident: 

  • Secure the Scene: Always make sure everyone involved, pedestrians, and witnesses are safe and unharmed. If possible, move to a safe area within the parking lot. 

  • Gather Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Take photographs of the scene and vehicle damage, and get the details of any witnesses. Documentation can be essential in establishing fault. 

  • Report the Accident: In Ohio, if an accident results in injury, death, or property damage over the statutory amount, it must be reported to the nearest law enforcement agency. Be sure to obtain a copy of the accident report for your records. 

  • Insurance Notification: You'll need to notify your insurance company of the accident. It's crucial to do this as soon as possible, as some policies have strict deadlines for filing a claim.  

Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents  

The best way to avoid being involved in a parking lot accident is to practice vigilant and cautious driving at all times. Here are some defensive driving tips specifically for navigating parking lots safely: 

  • Maintain a slow speed and be alert for sudden stops or movements. 

  • Utilize your mirrors and, if your vision is obscured, turn and look to the side when backing up. 

  • Watch for pedestrians and be prepared to yield at crosswalks. 

  • Follow the directional signs and lane markings accurately. 

Trusted Legal Guidance  

Understanding the stakes of parking lot accidents in Ohio is an integral part of safe driving. By knowing the common causes, the complicated fault-determination laws, and taking preventative actions, drivers can not only reduce their risk but also ensure a smoother process if an accident does occur.

Everyone has a shared responsibility to maintain the safety of parking lots, whether as an owner, a driver, or a pedestrian. Remember, even in the most innocuous of spaces, safety should always be the priority. 

For more information on Ohio parking lot accidents or any other car accident-related inquiries, contact our reliable legal team at Diehl & Hubbell, LLC.  

The roads are full of potential hazards, but with knowledge and caution, we can all do our part in minimizing the risks. Drive safely, and may your parking lots always be uneventful, but if not, be sure to understand the laws that govern your post-accident steps.