Some of the most frustrating kind of motor vehicle accidents are parking lot accidents. Even though most parking lot accidents happen at low speeds and often don’t involve a lot of property damage, people can still get seriously hurt. Getting an insurance company to take a parking lot accident seriously is difficult. There are also other complications such as determining who is at fault and getting a car repaired if you have a high deductible.
Low Impact Injuries
There are a number of factors that go into injuries during a car crash. The more energy in a crash, usually the more severe the injuries. That is why freeway accidents often are more deadly than a fender bender at a stop sign.
However, there are other factors at work in car accident injuries as well. The human body is made to move in certain ways. When the body is twisted, pushed, or pulled in unexpended and unnatural ways, it results in injures. In parking lot accidents the injuries are usually low impact ones, because the cars are driving slow, but they can still be painful.
Getting hit from behind or on the side often results in soft tissue injuries to the neck and back. This is often called whiplash. When the body twits unexpectedly or in an unusually way, the damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, can be severe, even if the energy in the crash was low.
Even worse, there is often little that can be done about soft tissue injures except for the body to heal over time. The symptoms can be treated, but people can be hurt for weeks or even months, depending on the injury.
Insurance companies often try and minimize these low impact injuries and frequently argue that anyone seeking compensation for them is exaggerating their pain or are just trying to get some easy cash.
Pedestrian Injuries in Parking Lot Accidents
With so many cars and people everywhere, cars in parking lots sometimes strike pedestrians. Even if the car was traveling slowly, a car weighing thousands of pounds and made of steel striking an unprotected human body can result in traumatic injuries to the pedestrian.
Pedestrians may have the right of way, but drivers may not always see them. Pedestrians in parking lot accidents may have to rely on their own car insurance policies to get immediate medical help.
Depending on the state and the policy, some car insurance polices will cover you, even when you are walking and get hit by a car.
While the property damage is usually minimal in parking lot accidents, it isn’t any less of a headache to deal with. Often drivers will have to pay out of pocket for the damage to their car from a parking lot accident because the deductible on their insurance policy is too high.
The repair could still cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If the deductible is higher than the cost of the repair, some people will not be able to afford to repair the damage until the other driver who caused the accident compensates them.
This can put pressure on people to settle parking lot accidents quicker than they should, resulting in them receiving less money than they might otherwise be entitled to.
Determining Who is at Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
Another complication in parking lot cases is deciding who is at fault. There are rules about who has the right of way in a parking lot. But, sometimes both drivers are being negligent in the way they are driving. Other times the problem may be caused by two negligent drivers and involve a third innocent driver. Deciding whom to make a claim against can be difficult.
Sometimes the owner of the parking lot may have some responsibility if the parking lot design is faulty or there was a danger that was not properly taken care of. This can add another layer of complexity when you are just trying to get your car fixed and your medical bills paid.
Most states have comparative negligence and contributory negligence laws that will determine how damages should be awarded when more than one person was at fault for an accident. But, the difficulty may be in finding out who was at fault in the first place.
Because the damages are smaller than in many kinds of car accidents, there isn’t enough money to justify crash reconstruction in parking lot accidents. This means that adjustors, judges, and juries have to make decisions about fault based on the statements of the drivers and any witnesses.
If two drivers are involved in the accident, the claims process is the same as for any other kind of car accident. But, if there is a company involved in any way, it makes the claims process harder. If the parking lot owner is also at fault, you can have a real mess.
Even for parking lot accidents you may need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Just because the property damage was small doesn’t mean you weren’t really hurt.
Let us help you find a personal injury lawyer near you to help you understand your rights.