Parking Lot Car Accidents

Every day, Charlotte drivers park their vehicles in parking lots when they go to work, dine, or shop. Some may return to find that their vehicle has been scratched, dinged, or dented while they were gone. Unfortunately, in many cases, the at-fault party does not leave any information behind by which they can be identified. Additionally, the police department may not respond to the scene, especially if no one has been injured or there is not significant property damage.

Injuries To Pedestrians In Parking Lots

Typically, accidents occurring in parking lots occur at low speeds and are not as serious as accidents occurring out on the main road. However, if a pedestrian is involved and injured, this can be a very serious situation. Even when a pedestrian is struck at low speeds, the resulting injuries could be devastating.

Determining Who Is Liable

Determining liability in these kinds of accidents can be challenging. Every city and municipality in North Carolina, including Charlotte, has its own parking codes and parking violations and these codes must comply with state regulations. When the at-fault driver violated a parking or traffic ordinance at the time of the car accident, the violation itself can be proof of negligence per se. Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that makes the violation of a law enough proof to show that someone was negligent. When the injured party can prove that the elements of negligence per se have been met, he or she may have an easier time securing damages. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, so it is best to consult an attorney to make sure that your situation does not fall into one of these exceptions.

In most cases, any driver who is moving toward a parking space has the right of way to park their vehicle in the space. However, this does not give the driver the ability to ignore yellow yield signs, or parking lot stop signs which supersede the driver's right of way to enter a parking lot. Additionally, a driver entering a parking lot may be liable for striking a pedestrian, especially if the driver was negligent. For example, if a driver who is under the influence of alcohol is speeding and swerves aggressively into a parking lot, he or she may be liable for any injuries caused to nearby pedestrians.

What To Do After A Parking Lot Accident

It can be extremely frustrating when you return to your car and realize that it has been hit and even more frustrating when the perpetrator is nowhere to be found. If this happens, it may be beneficial to contact law enforcement and file a police report. Even if they do not find the perpetrator, having the police report can be important for your insurance claim. A police report can also be helpful if you are able to track down the perpetrator following the accident. In some cases, you may be able to obtain CCTV video from security cameras, or witness testimony, that may help you locate whoever damaged your car. If you are able to locate the perpetrator, you can either pursue a legal claim, or file a claim against his or her insurance.

If you have been injured in the accident, it is important that you request medical care and document all of your injuries. If the at-fault driver is still on the scene, make sure to obtain all of their personal and contact information, as well as their insurance information. If you are able to do so safely, take pictures of the accident and note any information regarding the scene and the events of the accident. All of this information will not only help when filing an insurance claim but may also be useful in the event you decide to pursue legal action.

Contact Us Today

If you have been involved in a car accident, whether as a pedestrian or a driver, you may not know what steps to take next. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand how overwhelming the aftermath of an accident can be and we are here to help. Not only can we help you through the insurance claims process, but we can help you litigate any potential personal injuries claim you may want to bring against the other driver.

Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn how we can advocate for you. For your convenience and safety, we offer video and phone conferencing. If you prefer an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach offices in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe and Mooresville.

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