Driving in a busy parking lot can be stressful. Imagine driving around a lot looking for a parking spot amidst heavy congestion, shoppers walking to and from their cars, and other drivers competing with you for available spaces. Parking lots are full of distractions, hazards, and opportunities for accidental collisions with other vehicles. They can be dangerous places, and accidents occurring within their boundaries can have devastating consequences.
Several different types of collisions commonly occur in parking lots. Accidents can happen when two cars simultaneously pull out or reverse from their respective parking spaces and collide with each other. Distracted drivers can hit parked cars. They can also collide with vehicles in motion while backing out of their parking spaces or turning into the lot’s main thoroughfare. Additionally, two cars vying to park in the same space might collide if they’re uncertain which of them had the right of way entitling them to the parking spot.
Even if these collisions occur at low speeds, they have the potential to cause property damage, as well as serious injuries. Depending on the force of impact, drivers involved in a parking lot accident could experience soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, and other injuries requiring medical attention.
Additionally, in a crowded parking lot, it’s easy for distracted drivers to collide with pedestrians walking towards or away from their own vehicles. These accidents can cause severe injuries, and could even result in fatalities.
If you have been involved in an accident inside a Nova Scotia parking lot, taking some immediate actions at the collision site might be beneficial for any future legal action you may decide to pursue. These actions include:
- Exchanging contact information and insurance details with any other parties involved in the accident
- Recording the license plate numbers of any other involved drivers
- Taking photos of any damage caused to each vehicle involved in the collision
- Seeking immediate medical attention, even if it does not feel like you have sustained an injury
If your parking lot accident caused you to sustain injuries, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial compensation.
Are Both Drivers Automatically At-Fault?
Many people believe that, since parking lots are not public property, the same rules that govern the province’s roads and highways do not apply inside their boundaries. But when a collision occurs anywhere in Nova Scotia, including inside a parking lot, liability for the accident is decided in accordance with the province’s Automobile Insurance Fault Determination Regulations. These regulations are mandated by the province’s Insurance Act, which outlines who is responsible for various types of accidents, depending on their circumstances.
There is a common misconception that, when accidents occur in a parking lot, both drivers automatically share the fault equally. Believing this “50-50 myth” might incline accident victims to settle with the other driver at the scene of the collision, even if they were not even partially to blame.
Determining fault in any kind of motor vehicle collision is dependent on the individual circumstances of the accident. That said, in a parking lot, some hard and fast rules apply. For example, drivers that fail to yield to a passing car with the right of way will be considered entirely at-fault for the accident. This means, if a car pulls out of their parking space and strikes a passing vehicle, its driver will be considered entirely at-fault for the collision. Furthermore, cars driving through the parking lot’s main thoroughfares (i.e. the parking lot’s outer lanes) have the right of way over cars in the lot’s feeder lanes (i.e. lanes leading to parking spaces). If a driver exiting a feeder lane turns onto the lot’s main thoroughfare without yielding to an oncoming driver, they will be entirely responsible for the resulting collision.
Parking Lot Hit and Runs
Fleeing the scene of an accident can lead to a criminal conviction, steep fines, and even jail time. Despite the severity of the repercussions, many motorists who hit a parked vehicle instinctively drive away from the scene without leaving their contact information, even if their collision caused serious damage to the vehicle they struck or the passengers inside.
Being struck by a driver who runs away from the accident scene can lead to substantial financial losses. If the cost of damages to your vehicle, or the costs of medical treatments for any injuries you sustained exceed the monetary awards available to you through Section B accidents benefits, you will first need to identify the driver who caused the accident in order to pursue financial compensation from them.
While many parking lots are equipped with video surveillance cameras for this very reason, individual drivers may wish to take extra precautions against hit and run drivers by installing a dash cam in their vehicle.
Many dash cams are equipped with motion sensors that trigger the device to begin recording when it detects movement nearby. That means that, if your parked car was damaged in a hit and run, video evidence recorded by your dash cam may help track down the responsible party.
Pedestrian Injuries in Parking Lots
When pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles in parking lots, severe injuries and fatalities can occur. In an instant, a person walking from their car to a shopping plaza can become a statistic, or a news item, all because of another driver’s negligence.
According to Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act, in cases of pedestrian accidents, there is a reverse onus of proof on the responsible driver. This means that, if a pedestrian survives a collision with an automobile and pursues the driver for financial compensation, the pedestrian will not necessarily be required to prove the driver’s negligence in order to recover the cost of damages they have incurred as a result of their accident.
In Nova Scotia, drivers involved in a collision with a pedestrian have a legal presumption of fault. However, during legal proceedings following a collision, the at-fault driver may attempt to prove that the pedestrian was partially responsible for causing their accident. In an attempt to reduce their level of responsibility for the collision, and by extension, the amount of damages they may be required to pay, a driver may claim that the injured pedestrian did not cross the parking lot at the appropriately marked intersection, and was therefore, partially to blame for the incident.
If a negligent driver attempts to dispute the pedestrian’s claim, a car accident lawyer may be able to supply evidence to disprove their accusations, in order to recover the following pecuniary damages for their clients:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
If a pedestrian sustains catastrophic injuries in a parking lot accident, they may experience emotional trauma and mental anguish, in addition to their physical injuries. In these unfortunate circumstances, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help them pursue non-pecuniary damages from the responsible driver. Examples of these damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to help you pursue financial compensation for damages you incurred as a result of your injuries. To discuss the circumstances of your accident and learn if you’re eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.
For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 902-405-8282.