Parking Lot Accidents

It’s true that motor vehicles move at a slow rate or are stationary in parking lots. However, that doesn’t mean accidents causing injury cannot occur in a parking lot. In fact, parking lots are high risk areas for traffic collisions. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one in five motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. occur in a parking lot or a parking garage. The majority of these accidents could have been avoided if the at-fault driver had been aware of their surroundings or acted calmly/rationally while driving.

Determining who is at fault in a parking lot accident can get complicated. This is especially true if the parking lot or garage had several cars driving in multiple directions when the accident occurred. In addition to this, insurance companies tend to discount parking lot accidents as they assume an accident at such low speeds will not induce a serious injury. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Low impact car accidents account for at least 1/3 of all insurance claims by policyholders. Despite this fact, adjusters may refuse to provide coverage.

If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, it’s within your best interest to call PNW Trial Lawyers.

Parking Lot Accident Bellingham Attorney, WA

Although these accidents occur at low speeds, a parking lot accident can induce serious injuries. That is why we highly encourage you to secure legal representation with PNW Trial Lawyers if you’ve been injured in a parking lot collision. Our experienced Washington parking lot accident lawyers have represented many plaintiffs who were injured in car accidents—including parking lots and other low impact motor vehicle collisions. We can assess the facts of the case, negotiate with the insurance company, and do whatever possible to help you make a complete recovery.

Schedule your first consultation today with PNW Trial Lawyers by calling our office at (360) 483-5201 or simply submit an online contact form. PNW Trial Lawyers has offices in Bellingham and accepts clients throughout the greater Whatcom County, Skagit County, and Snohomish County area including Everett, Mount Vernon, and Anacortes.

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Common Causes for Parking Lot Accidents

Accidents that occur in parking lots or garages are triggered by a variety of outside and internal factors. What all these accidents have in common, however, is that they were caused by one driver engaging in some type of negligent behavior—whether that is being grossly unaware of their surroundings, operating their vehicle recklessly, or failing to follow traffic rules. Essentially, when one driver fails to take proper care while driving in a parking lot it can result in an accident that causes injury.

Listed below are some common reasons for parking lot accidents.

  • Drivers backing out of a parking space without checking to ensure the path is clear
  • When two or more vehicles attempt to take the same parking space
  • An inattentive, reckless, or distracted driver strikes a pedestrian while backing out
  • Rear ending another parked car within the lot or garage while reversing
  • The driver reverses out into oncoming traffic

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Injuries from Parking Lot Accidents

It’s a common misconception among drivers that low-impact accidents rarely if ever cause injury. In reality, soft tissue injuries such as “whiplash” can be extremely debilitating. Injuries stemming from a low-impact crash can cause chronic pain and force the victim to change their lifestyle immensely in order to accommodate their injuries. In addition, these types of injuries may develop days or even weeks after the incident.

Often victims of parking lot and other low-impact accidents identify their injuries later on after they already told the insurance adjusters they were not injured from the accident. Unfortunately, plaintiffs may have difficulty recovering because they conceded to adjusters earlier on that they weren’t injured. It’s not uncommon in these situations for insurance companies to claim these injuries are pre-existing, and therefore refuse coverage. For these reasons and more, it’s important you retain an experienced Washington personal injury lawyer.

Listed below are some other serious injuries that could develop after a parking lot accident.

  • Contusions
  • Nerve Damage
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Muscle Strains
  • Aggravation to Pre-Existing Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Stress Fractures
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Sprains
  • Joint Pain
  • Tendinitis

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Compensation in a Parking Lot Accident

Similar to other types of crashes, when a parking lot accident occurs a comprehensive investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the accident. It’s important to note that Washington State law indicates the threshold for reporting a vehicle collision or other property damage is $700. Accidents must also be reported if they result in serious injury that requires medical attention.

However, parking lot accidents tend to be low-impact and the victims of these accidents may not develop injuries right away. So, realistically it’s not uncommon for police to not respond to a parking lot accident, especially if it occurs on private property. Without a formal police report, its important injured plaintiffs act as their own best advocate and collect evidence as well as conduct their own investigation. That way they have documented information for all involved parties and witnesses that proves their injury was caused by another person’s negligence.

The injured plaintiff can then utilize this and other material facts to file a claim against the at-fault driver. In most cases, the other driver who struck the plaintiff is the one legally responsible—but there are cases where the parking lot or garage owner/manager is the at-fault party. If the defendant contests the plaintiff’s claim, then the plaintiff will have to prove the following facts in court.

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty of care by engaging in negligent actions
  • That breach was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury
  • The plaintiff suffered financial, emotional, and physical losses due to the injury

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Additional Resources

Crash Research – Visit the official website for the National Highway and Transportation Administration (NHTSA) to read their traffic crash reports and research. Access the different programs created by NHTSA to enhance safety measures, mitigate traffic related injuries, information about their driver simulation program, and crash avoidance.

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Parking Lot Accident Attorney in Bellingham, WA

Were you injured in a parking lot accident? Then you may be entitled to compensation in the form of a monetary award or settlement. Contact PNW Trial Lawyers to learn your legal options. Our legal team has helped many injured plaintiffs receive the compensation they are entitled to so they can recover with ease. Don’t wait another moment to get on the road to recovery and call PNW Trial Lawyers.

PNW Trial Lawyers can be reached at (360) 483-5201 or simply submit an online contact form for your first consultation. PNW Trial Lawyers has offices in Bellingham but we accept clients throughout Whatcom County, Skagit County, and Snohomish County, WA.

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