Let Our Lawyers Help with Your Florida Parking Lot Accident Claim
Parking lots can be dangerous places, especially during times of heavy traffic. From overcrowded beach parking lots during the summer months to busy shopping center parking lots around the holidays, all types of parking lots can be dangerous at all times of the year. If you have been injured in a parking lot accident in South Florida, you may be entitled to financial compensation, and you should discuss your legal rights with a Fort Lauderdale parking lot accident attorney promptly.
While parking lot accidents typically involve vehicles traveling at relatively low speeds and tend to be relatively minor on the broad spectrum of vehicle collisions, they actually present a number of unique legal issues. As a result, hiring an experienced attorney is important; and, in order to protect your rights, you should schedule a free initial consultation right away.
What Do You Need to Know After Being Injured in a Parking Lot Accident?
If you have been injured in a parking lot accident in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, what do you need to know? Here are five key facts from our parking lot accident attorney Joseph Maus:
1. Parking Lot Accidents are Fairly Common
First, parking lot accidents are fairly common—in fact, they are probably far more common than you think. According to insurance industry estimates, approximately one out of every five auto accidents occurs in a parking lot. So, if you have been injured in a parking lot accident in South Florida, you are not alone, and you have clear grounds for seeking to recover your accident-related losses.
2. Many Parking Lots are Private Property
Second, many parking lots are private property, and those that are not are owned by government agencies. This means that in addition to claims against negligent drivers, individuals who are injured in parking lot accidents will often have claims against negligent property owners. From failing to paint (or repaint) directional arrows and crosswalks to failing to repair potholes and other hazards, property owners can be held for parking lot accidents under a broad range of circumstances.
3. Florida’s “No-Fault” Insurance Law Applies
Third, just like other types of auto accidents, parking lot accidents are subject to Florida’s no-fault insurance law. This means that (i) your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy will most likely be your first source of financial recovery; and, (ii) if you were seriously or permanently injured due to driver negligence, you can file a fault-based claim under the driver’s auto insurance policy.
4. All Types of Accident Victims Can Recover Financial Compensation
Fourth, regardless of what you were doing when you were injured, you can seek financial compensation for your losses. Drivers, passengers and pedestrians can file claims under their PIP policies, and all accident victims can file negligence-based claims for damages.
5. You Can File a Claim Even if You Were Partially at Fault
Finally, under Florida’s “pure comparative fault” law, you can file a claim even if you were partially at fault in the accident. While you should never assume that you are partially to blame for your own injuries, it is important to know that if you were partially at fault a car accident attorney can still help you recover a portion of your losses.
Establishing Fault in a Parking Lot Accident in South Florida
Whether another driver caused your accident, the owner of the parking lot is to blame, or multiple factors combined to cause the collision, establishing fault will be an important step on your road to financial recovery. Since most drivers’ PIP coverage is limited to $10,000 in medical expenses and lost income (including their deductible), filing a fault-based claim will often prove essential to fully recovering the costs of an accident victim’s injuries.
When it comes to proving fault, the facts of each individual case are crucially important. While there are some “general rules,” every accident presents unique elements; and, in order to recover damages, you must be able to prove fault based on the facts of your particular case. With this in mind, some relatively-common scenarios in parking lot accident cases include:
- A driver backs out of a parking space into another vehicle – In most cases, the reversing driver will be at fault, since he or she was required to yield the right of way to the vehicle traveling in the lane of traffic.
- A driver backs out of a parking space into a pedestrian – Typically, the reversing driver would be liable in this case as well, although there may be a slightly greater chance of the insurance companies accusing the pedestrian of being negligent and failing to protect himself or herself from injury.
- One vehicle rear–ends another that has slowed or stopped in the parking lot – In rear-end accidents, the driver of the trailing vehicle is almost always liable. However, there are some exceptions, and it is important never to assume liability in a parking lot accident case.
- Two vehicles collide while both reversing out of parking spaces – This is a scenario in which both drivers may share liability; although, here too, there are potential scenarios in which one driver could be primarily or solely liable.
- Two vehicles collide while both attempting to take a parking space – This is another scenario in which Florida’s pure comparative fault law will usually apply, although one driver could be deemed solely at fault if he or she sped up in an effort to claim a parking space that the other driver was already entering.
- Collisions at parking lot intersections and crosswalks – At intersections and crosswalks, drivers have a legal duty to observe the rules of the road. This still applies in parking lots, and drivers who are distracted, negligent or careless can be held fully liable.
- Accidents involving parking lot hazards – When an accident results from an issue with the parking lot itself, the owner of the parking lot may be fully liable under the law of premises liability.
Discuss Your Claim with Fort Lauderdale Parking Lot Accident Attorney Joseph Maus
Are you entitled to financial compensation for the injuries you sustained in a parking lot accident in South Florida? To discuss your claim with Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Maus for free, call 855-999-5297 or request an appointment online now.