Parking lot accidents fall under the same legal rules as any other car collision. While each case is different, the general principles of negligence and liability still apply. You have rights in this situation and may be entitled to recover damages. Call our Atlanta car accident attorneys today for help.
Determining Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
In Georgia, determining who is liable for damages in a parking lot accident depends on the specific circumstances of each accident. This includes contributing factors, such as who had the right-of-way during the incident.
Only One Vehicle Was Moving
In instances where a moving vehicle collides with a stationary one, the driver of the moving vehicle is usually held responsible. If your vehicle was legally parked or stationary when the accident occurred, the other driver will be at fault. However, if your vehicle was illegally parked, or if the specifics of the accident are ambiguous, you may share some of the blame.
Both Vehicles Were Moving
In situations where two vehicles in motion collide within a parking area, the assignment of fault is largely dependent on who had the right-of-way. If you had the right of way when the collision happened, the other driver is usually held responsible.
In cases where both vehicles are leaving their parking spots and collide, each driver is generally held accountable for their own damages.
In some cases, a driver collides with an object in a parking lot or parking garage such as a road sign or a concrete barrier or pillar. In such a scenario, the driver is generally held responsible. The driver’s liability insurance coverage would pay for the property damage. Meanwhile, collision coverage would pay for car repairs.
However, there are instances where the property owner’s negligence could also contribute to the accident.
Collision With a Pedestrian
A significant number of injuries in parking lots are caused by drivers failing to observe their surroundings, often resulting in pedestrian injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 12,247 fatalities in accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians between 2016 and 2020.
A careless driver can be held liable for hitting a pedestrian.
Georgia’s Negligence Laws
The determination of fault in an accident hinges on the concept of negligence. Proving negligence can be done by establishing the following four elements:
- Duty of care: All drivers have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and exercise sound judgment.
- Breach of duty: The other party did not uphold their duty of care.
- Causation: The other party’s breach of care was the cause of your injuries.
- Damages: As a result of the accident, you incurred damages. This can include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
According to Georgia law, the party found to be at fault is required to compensate the other party for any damages resulting from an accident. This compensation typically comes from the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy. If you can demonstrate negligence and establish fault, you may be eligible for compensation.
Premises Liability and Parking Lot Accidents
Most parking lots are private property. As such property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their land in a reasonably safe manner for lawful visitors like customers or tenants. If unsafe conditions on the premises caused or contributed to the accident, the property owner may be liable.
For a premise liability claim, your attorney must prove:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care as a lawful visitor.
- The property owner failed to correct unsafe conditions or warn visitors.
- The unsafe conditions directly caused or contributed to your injuries.
- You experienced injury and/or financial losses as a result.
Contact Our Lawyers for a Free Consultation
After a car accident in a parking lot, speaking with an attorney at the Weinstein Firm is the best way to understand your rights and next steps. We have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims in Georgia. Call us at 770-HELP-NOW to set up your free consultation.