Car Accident Lawyer on Parking Lot Accidents and Safety Tips
Jonathan Perazzo from the Perazzo Law Firm, a top-notch Miami car accident lawyer, dishes on car mishaps relating to parking. He enlightens us on frequent accidents that can happen while hunting for a parking spot or while getting out of one.
Everybody knows that you’ve gotta park your ride sooner or later. It’s something all drivers do. But what a lot of folks aren’t aware of is how many prangs can happen during this simple act of parking, especially in cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Aventura. Whether you’re pulling into a spot at a Publix parking lot, squeezing between two cars on a city street, or parking in your own driveway, it needs a bit more focus than just your regular driving skills. Just like you’d use your blinker to signal a left turn, parking your whip should also involve proper signaling and plenty of reaction time. In cities like Miami, drivers often rush around hunting for parking spaces on crowded streets. And when they finally spot one, they might make a sudden stop or swerve into it, often leading to accidents. These quick stops and lane changes are a big cause of crashes in cities throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County.
When do Most Parking Accidents Happen?
You might not think parking your car could lead to a fender bender, but the truth is, parking and accidents are practically joined at the hip. Drivers often get missed by others when pulling out of parking spots. This often happens because the other driver is too busy scrolling through their phone to notice the car moving out in front of them. Many times, they can’t hit the brakes fast enough to avoid a smash, usually resulting in a side or T-bone collision, which can cause nasty neck or hip injuries. We at the Perazzo Law Firm have dealt with plenty of these cases and we know what’s causing these parking accidents.
Main Causes of Parking Accidents:
- Slamming on the brakes
- Sudden lane changes
- Unexpected car door openings
- Phone use while driving
- Not using side mirrors to check for traffic or bikers
- Cutting into traffic without yielding
- Darting into a driveway without checking for traffic
- Entering a driveway or parking spot without signaling
- Passing a car that’s waiting to park and hitting another vehicle
- Bumping into a parked car
How to Avoid Parking Accidents
Tips from a Miami Car Accident Lawyer
Parking-related accidents happen all the time in Florida, and everywhere else for that matter. Backing up isn’t something all drivers are comfy with, and it can often lead to misjudging the distance to the car behind. Or worse, a pedestrian might stroll behind a reversing car, leading to an accident for which the driver is usually blamed. To prevent this, the Perazzo Law Firm’s car accident whizzes have put together some simple pointers for drivers to remember next time they’re parking.
Keeping Parking Accidents at Bay
- Use your hazard lights: Throw on your hazards to let other drivers, bikers, and walkers know you’re about to park.
- Don’t get distracted while parking: Texting while parking is a big no-no.
- Don’t rush to park: Many drivers spend ages hunting for a spot, and when they find one, they race to grab it before someone else does. But rushing like this can cause accidents.
- Don’t back up too quickly: It’s best to reverse slow and steady. Many parking accidents happen because drivers back up too fast, often missing pedestrians or bikers in their path.
- Use your turn signals: When pulling out of a parking space, flick on your turn signals to alert oncoming traffic.
- Don’t pull out too quickly: Pull out of a parking space slowly to give other drivers a chance to see and avoid your car. If you dart out too quickly, you might cause an accident and could be blamed for reckless driving.
- Use your mirrors: Keep an eye on your side and rearview mirrors. They’re there to help you be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Be careful when parking near corners: Pulling out of a parking space near an intersection can easily lead to an accident, especially if your car is the last one parked on the street. Other drivers might not see you pulling out as they’re turning the corner. It’s a common accident scenario, so it’s crucial to proceed with caution and stay alert for oncoming traffic
Got into a Parking Lot Accident?
Crowded parking lots, such as in shopping malls, can turn into danger zones just as busy roads can when careless drivers are in control. Scoring a parking spot in a bustling parking lot can make drivers whizz around corners, trying to snag a spot before anyone else. This kind of hasty driving can easily trigger an accident, leading to injuries for pedestrians or vehicle damage to other drivers. Even though collisions inside parking lots might not be intense, there’s still a risk of injury when a pedestrian gets hit by a car reversing out of a spot or zooming around in search of one.
Shoppers, especially those with kids, can easily get distracted while navigating a shopping mall or supermarket parking lot. Kids seem to be at the highest risk in parking lots since drivers often miss spotting them in their rearview mirrors. In our “always on the phone” world, drivers and pedestrians in Miami are often distracted by their cellphones, whether they’re walking, riding, driving, or even chatting with others face-to-face. A hefty amount of vehicle and foot traffic in Miami parking lots falls into this “phone-distracted” category.
Certain areas in a Miami parking lot might be more accident-prone than others. Drivers and pedestrians need to tread with extra care in dimly lit areas of parking lots. These spots are not just more susceptible to car accidents, but also to criminal activity or slip and fall accidents. Even the simple acts of entering and exiting parking lots demand extra caution. Automatic parking lot gates, for example, can lead to personal injuries, property damage, or losses. Occasionally, a parking lot gate may drop on someone’s head or on a vehicle, causing injury or damage.
High-Risk Areas in Parking Lots:
- Dimly lit areas
- Entry and exit points
- Areas with automatic gates
- Common Distractions in Parking Lots:
- Phone use while walking
- Phone use while driving
- Children playing
- Other pedestrians talking face-to-face
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT IN A PARKING LOT
The initial step for victims of parking lot accidents should be to assess for injuries and then contact law enforcement to document an official report of the incident. This applies even to minor collisions that don’t result in visible injuries or vehicle damage. The presence of a formal report can prove critical when processing insurance claims for injured individuals or those who have incurred losses due to the accident. In Miami, it’s advisable to report parking lot accidents when the damage to vehicles is likely to exceed $500 to $1,000.
Following the accident and after filing a police report, victims should seek medical attention to check for any discomfort or pain that may have resulted from the accident. At the Perazzo Law Firm in Miami, accident victims are reminded that some injuries, like those affecting the neck or back, may take days to become evident. Therefore, a medical evaluation and report can be crucial for any future insurance claims for compensation to cover medical expenses stemming from the parking lot accident.
Assigning Fault in a Miami Parking Lot Accident
Motorists should be aware of specific rules for operating vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, or motorcycles) in Florida’s parking lots. Similar to Miami’s streets, larger commercial and public parking lots have thoroughfares and feeder lanes which correspond to ‘right of way’ rules.
Thoroughfares are wider lanes within a parking lot that allow vehicles to enter, traverse, and exit the lot. Feeder lanes, which are narrower, intersect with the thoroughfares leading to parking spots. Vehicles traveling along the thoroughfare have the right-of-way, meaning those entering the thoroughfare or exiting parking spots must yield.
Motorists failing to adhere to these basic parking lot laws can be held legally liable for any personal injury, property damage, loss, or even wrongful death caused by negligent driving. Motorists backing into each other often share liability, with fault typically divided 50-50, subject to insurance or police reports. Motorists colliding with parked vehicles are generally found 90% liable for property damage.
It’s crucial for motorists causing property damage to another vehicle not to leave the scene without reporting the incident, as this could be considered a Hit and Run, a criminal charge.
Insurance Handling of Parking Lot Accidents
Insurance companies approach parking lot accidents in Miami in unique ways. Despite the lower speeds in parking lots (legal limit set at 1-15 mph), collisions can be expensive. Some motorists carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which provides up to $10,000 in damage coverage. However, if personal injuries are involved, there might not be sufficient funds left for vehicle repair.
Reporting Timeline and Steps to Follow
On average, victims of parking lot accidents in Miami have ten days to report the incident. The Perazzo Law Firm advises treating parking lot accidents similarly to street accidents: gather eyewitness accounts, alert authorities, seek necessary medical help, and maintain all medical records.
- Key Steps to Follow After a Parking Lot Accident:
- Check for injuries.
- Contact law enforcement to file an official report.
- Seek medical attention and maintain all records.
- Contact a legal representative if necessary.
- Guidelines to Follow If You Damage a Parked Vehicle:
- Do not leave the accident scene, irrespective of the extent of damage.
- Make an effort to find the vehicle’s owner.
- Leave your contact information for the owner to reach you.
- Notify parking lot operators or the police to avoid further complications.
Failure to comply with these steps could potentially lead to Hit and Run charges and fines, especially considering the prevalence of surveillance cameras that can link you to the accident.
Understanding Premises Liability Claims and Parking Lot Accidents: Insights from The Perazzo Law Firm
The Concept of Premises Liability
Owners and administrators of both public and private spaces bear a legal duty to ensure safe and appropriate conditions for all visitors to their premises. Premises Liability is a legal framework aimed at protecting the rights of victims who experience personal injury, loss, or wrongful death within a public or private property owned by an individual or business.
The Role of The Perazzo Law Firm
At The Perazzo Law Firm, our Personal Injury Litigation attorneys offer representation to victims who have suffered personal injury or loss due to a Slip, Trip and Fall Accident, often resulting from the negligence of property owners or operators. Our team, based in North Miami Beach, has managed thousands of cases for clients who have encountered personal injuries while carrying out everyday activities such as: grocery shopping at a supermarket, holidaying at a hotel, dining at a restaurant, riding a roller-coaster, or navigating through a parking lot.
We at Perazzo Law have a demonstrated history of obtaining fair compensation for our clients for injuries like Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, fractures, and other work-related losses resulting from Premises Liability incidents.
Parking Lot Accidents and Liability
Parking Lot Accidents in Miami can fall into two categories – Premises Liability Litigation or Motor-vehicle Accident Claim, both of which can lead to an Insurance Claim. The Perazzo Law Firm is dedicated to handling your personal injury claim in the aftermath of a parking lot accident in Miami, ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve.
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If you, a friend, or relative was injured in an accident that involved parking, contact the Perazzo Law Firm for a FREE initial consultation and ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET FEES to car accident clients.