Car accidents happen every year in Vancouver and throughout Washington – on highways, busy streets, and back roads. But accidents happen in other locations, too. Nationally, parking lots and garages are the sites of tens of thousands of crashes every year, often leaving people with serious injuries.
Parking lots and garages at supermarkets, big box stores, and malls are even more busy than usual around the holidays. This increase in traffic also, unfortunately, leads to more accidents. In fact, there is an increase in auto insurance claims beginning on Black Friday and continuing throughout the shopping season.
What are the causes of these crashes? A National Safety Council public opinion poll found that distracted driving appears to be a big factor.
Distracted driving behaviors identified
Respondents were asked how often they engaged in certain behaviors in different driving situations. Many admitted to taking part in distracting behaviors while driving in parking lots, such as:
- Making or answering phone calls – 66%
- Using a GPS/navigation system – 63%
- Adjusting settings on a digital music device – 58%
- Reviewing or sending text messages – 56%
- Glancing at or reading alerts or notifications – 56%
- Grooming – 53%
- Using social media – 52%
- Reviewing or sending emails – 50%
- Looking at, taking, or posting photos or videos – 49%
There are often other distractions drivers face during the holidays. Drivers are often in a rush, trying to get everything done on their lists, and don’t pay as much attention as they should to driving.
A pedestrian walking in a parking lot can get hit by a car and suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries. The NSC found that 9% of pedestrian deaths in parking lots happened when drivers were backing up. Inattentive drivers also cause crashes with other motorists in parking lots, many times while backing out of parking spaces.
Negligent property owners & parking lot accidents
Far too often, people suffer serious injuries in parking lots when they trip, slip, and fall due to a hazard on the property. All property owners have a duty to ensure their premises are properly maintained and reasonably safe for customers.
Common conditions that can lead to a slip and fall accident in a parking lot include:
- Snow and ice
- Inadequate lighting
- Improper markings/signage
Property owners and managers should perform regular inspections and maintenance of their premises. Failure to do so can result in a pedestrian getting hit by a car in a parking lot or falling and getting hurt due to a hazard.
A parking lot accident can turn a simple shopping trip into a nightmare for injury victims. Suddenly, they are being rushed to the hospital for treatment. Medical expenses add up quickly and they may not be able to work for some time. Many people are left wondering how they are going to be able to pay their bills.
It’s important to get trusted legal advice
If you got hit by a car in a parking lot or suffered injuries in a slip and fall, you have recourse through the civil justice system. But recovering financial compensation can be complicated. Distracted driving can be difficult to prove and negligent drivers often deny they were doing anything wrong. Likewise, negligent property owners typically don't want to accept responsibility for failing to address hazards that result in someone getting hurt. This puts victims in the position of having to prove negligence.
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with and have a vested interest in paying injury victims as little as possible. They may question the seriousness of someone’s injuries or argue that they were partially at fault for what happened. They may offer a settlement, but it probably won’t cover all of the damages that were suffered.
That’s why it’s important to have experienced legal representation if you were hurt in a parking lot accident. Attorney Colin Scott knows how to investigate parking lot accidents and build strong cases to help victims get the compensation they deserve, whether it's through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
Talk to a car accident lawyer who is ready to fight for you. We can review the details of your parking lot accident, explain your legal options, and answer your questions. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.