Most of us feel pretty safe once we make it to the parking lot—after all, you’ve arrived at your destination. Nevertheless, according to the National Safety Counsil, an estimated 50,000 parking lot accidents injure 60,000 and claim 500 lives every year. Upon closer inspection, this makes some sense. When you combine powerful vehicles and people wandering to and fro in confined spaces, it’s almost a recipe for dangerous accidents. When you drive and when you park, always make safety your top priority.
Parking Lot Accidents: The Causes
Driver distraction plays a leading role in parking lot accidents, and we’re all guilty of letting down our guard a bit once we reach the parking lot or parking ramp. The thing about parking lots is that pedestrians are all over the place—and not necessarily where you’d expect them. Furthermore, some of those pedestrians are children. Look alive when you park.
If you were injured in a parking lot accident, you need legal counsel. At Abels & Annes in Chicago, we know the damage that these accidents can cause. We’re here to help protect your rights and to help navigate your claim toward just resolution.
Distracted drivers are dangerous on the road and in the parking lot. Distracted driving has become such a significant safety issue that the U.S. government dedicates a website to the topic. Distracted driving is characterized as any driving in which the driver focuses on something other than driving safely, and it’s classified into three distinct categories:
- Visual distractions, which engage the driver’s vision
- Manual distractions, which engage the driver’s hands
- Cognitive distractions, which engage the driver’s thoughts
Your smartphone is so smart that it manages to combine all three of these
distractions into one extremely dangerous activity. Drivers who’re interacting with their smartphones as they park are dangerous drivers who imperil everyone with whom they share the parking lot. Don’t be that driver.
Parking Lots and Right of Way
Let’s face it—parking lots have a bit of a free-for-all feel to them. You made it to your destination, and you’re thinking about what’s coming next. Most drivers aren’t even clear on who has the right of way in a parking lot. (Maybe you read about it once when you were glancing at the study book before your driving test?) The general mayhem of many parking lots contributes to accidents and injuries. Learn the rules of the lot, and you’ll become a better, more responsible driver.
Parking lots have two kinds of lanes, thoroughfares and feeders. The thoroughfares are the driving lanes that connect the parking lot to the street, and the feeders are the lanes that connect the parking lot to the thoroughfares. When you are on the thoroughfare (pulling in off the road for example), you have the right-of-way over vehicles that enter the thoroughfare from the feeder lanes. In addition, when you exit a parking space, you cede the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians in the parking lot or ramp.
Accidents at Low Speeds
Usually (though not always) cars travel at low speeds in parking lots, which means that most accidents aren’t fatal. Such accidents can, however, cause serious injuries, including fractures, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, contusions, and whiplash. Pedestrians are naturally at greatest risk of injuries in parking lot accidents, and they can sustain deadly injuries if they become trapped between a parked car and a moving vehicle or if a moving vehicle in one of the lanes rolls them over.
Parking Lot Accidents and Prevention
Parking lot accidents are preventable. When you arrive at the parking lot or parking ramp, make a conscious effort to slow down and keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians—they’re there and they have a tendency to pop out when you least expect them. Remember also to look for children—the best way to help keep
them safe is to slow down and proceed with caution. The parking lot is no place to pull out your phone, fix your look in the mirror, or do anything other than drive slowly and attentively toward a parking space.
The Determination of Fault
Fault in a parking lot accident is based on who had the right-of-way and on the circumstances that led to the accident in the first place. If you were injured in a parking lot accident that someone else’s negligence caused, seek immediate medical attention. If you’re able (enlist a bystander if you’re not), strengthen your claim by:
- Using your smartphone (now is when your smartphone comes in handy) to take pictures and videos at the scene of the accident—get pictures from every angle and don’t forget to snap pictures of any mitigating circumstances or factors that contributed to the accident
- Gathering eyewitness testimony in support of your claim (don’t forget to record eyewitness contact information)
- Obtaining the official accident report
- Making a rough sketch of where the accident took place and where all of the elements that played a role in the accident were positioned
- Jotting down your recollection of exactly how the accident transpired—parking lot accidents often overwhelm their victims and the confusion may cloud your memories
Though most of us don’t give much thought to parking lot accidents, they do happen and they can prove extremely dangerous—especially for pedestrians.
If a Parking Lot Accident Injured You, Consult a Chicago Car Accident Attorney Today
Parking lot accidents can frighten anyone. If you or someone you care about was injured in a parking lot accident, you need a Chicago car accident lawyer. The legal team at the law firm of Abels & Annes is committed to aggressively advocating for your claim’s just resolution. We’re here to help, so please contact us online or call our office at (312) 924-7575 for a free initial consultation today.