Parking Lot Crashes: Who Has the Right of Way (and Who Is to Blame)?
All parking lot car accidents are minor fender benders, right? Think again. Pedestrians and other vulnerable road users are often injured in parking lot crashes when a distracted or reckless driver breaks the rules. Unfortunately, many people don’t take parking lot safety seriously—or mistakenly think that Texas’ rules of the road don’t apply in parking garages and lots.
Our injury lawyers have helped many crash victims get the answers and the compensation they deserve. In this article, we explore Texas’ parking lot accident laws and suggest ways you can protect yourself after a wreck.
Texas’ Rules of the Road Apply in Parking Lots
While you might not get a ticket in a private parking lot, you can still be civilly liable if you break the rules and injure someone. In Texas, drivers must follow some basic right-of-way rules in parking lots and garages:
- You should follow traffic controls, like stop signs and one-way markers.
- Parked cars typically must yield to moving vehicles and pedestrians that are in the thoroughfare or roadway.
- Moving vehicles should always yield to pedestrians and bike riders—even if they are not in a marked crosswalk.
- Vehicles in feeder lanes, which contain rows of parking spaces, typically must yield the right of way to drivers in the thoroughfares (which direct you in and out of a parking lot).
- If you’re turning left at an unmarked intersection, you should typically yield to oncoming traffic.
Finally, you should always file a police report after a serious parking lot collision. If someone needs emergency medical treatment, call 911 and request an ambulance right away. Your prompt action might save their lives and help document their personal injury claims.
What Causes Parking Lot Accidents?
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of parking lot crashes, whether they involve two vehicles, a pedestrian, cyclist, or another vulnerable road user. In a 2016 National Safety Council survey, drivers admitted to remarkable levels of distracted driving in parking lots and ramps. According to those surveyed, they engaged in the following activities while driving in a parking lot:
- Make phone calls: 66% of drivers
- Program or use their GPS: 63% of drivers
- Navigate a digital music app, like Spotify or Pandora: 58% of drivers
- Text: 56% of drivers
- Check their social media profiles: 52% of drivers
- Check their email: 50% of drivers
Whether drivers are on their phones, adjusting their radios, eating a sandwich, or just hurrying to their next errand, their inattention can have tragic results. Every year, hundreds of people die in parking lot wrecks and tens of thousands are injured.
However, other causes can also contribute to parking lot crashes, including drunk driving, speeding, poor lighting and lot design, and other factors.
Who Is at Fault in a Parking Lot Crash?
After a wreck, most of your attention will focus on the reckless individual who caused the crash. If they have liability insurance (as is required in Texas), you should file a personal injury claim with their insurance company. However, depending on your circumstances, you might have additional legal claims:
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): If the adverse driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses, you can file claims under your own UM/UIM policy.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): Most Texans have a modest amount of PIP coverage, which can cover your medical bills and lost income after a wreck no matter who was at fault.
- Dram shop liability: When a restaurant or bar knowingly overserves a drunk driver, the business might be liable for your injuries.
- Premises liability: Sometimes, property owners are financially responsible for unsafe and poorly designed parking lots, garages, and ramps.
If you need help identifying all the responsible parties after a parking lot crash, contact our law firm for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story and suggest ways that you can improve your chances of a fair settlement.
RELATED: Insurance Settlement FAQs
How Much Is My Parking Lot Accident Case Worth?
There’s not a simple calculation that will determine your parking lot injury claim’s settlement value. Like any motor vehicle accident, your case’s worth will depend on many factors:
- How much insurance coverage applies to your claims
- The facts surrounding your case and the strength of your evidence
- The extent of your injuries and how much medical care you’ll need
- Whether you can return to work full-time (or at all)
- How much property damage you suffered
Crosley Law’s car accident lawyers can help you understand the precise value of your claim. Our team uses sophisticated techniques to investigate our clients’ claims and calculate their settlement values.
Crosley Law’s Track Record in Parking Lot Accident Claims
Our personal injury lawyers have handled many cases where a driver injured a pedestrian, and we’ve brought them all the way to trial. In one, the driver of an SUV turned left down a parking lot aisle and ran over our client. In another, a driver fiddling with his radio crashed into a pedestrian in a parking lot and caused a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
But it’s not just pedestrians who are at risk. In another case we brought to trial, a motorcycle driver was patiently waiting for a parking spot, and another driver backed over him as they raced out of their spot. In all these cases, the at-fault drivers claimed that they simply never saw the pedestrians.
However, a skilled personal injury lawyer can often prove that a driver was acting recklessly. Our team frequently consults with accident reconstruction experts, doctors, and other specialists to combat victim blaming and uncover the real causes of a crash.
Injured in a Parking Lot Crash? Call Crosley Law
If you have suffered because of a parking lot accident or other collision caused by someone else’s carelessness, Crosley Law Firm is here for you. You can get in touch with us by filling out our convenient online contact form or by calling us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000. We can schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique situation and offer you candid legal advice. If we can take on your case, you won’t have to pay a cent unless we achieve a settlement or win your case in court.
Statutes of limitations apply to personal injury cases, so don’t wait — contact us today!
Distracted driving public opinion poll. (2016, March). National Safety Council. Retrieved from https://www.nsc.org/getmedia/f2fdea1c-9063-419e-9ed5-49fb2f3997ad/methodology-summary-all-drivers.pdf.aspx
Why hundreds are killed in crashes in parking lots and garages every year. (2016, November 21). CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/parking-lot-accidents-distracted-drivers-national-safety-council/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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