Parking lots in Florida can be incredibly dangerous places! There are thousands of minor and major accidents in parking lots and parking garages every year nationally. If you’re dealing with a hectic shopping day, you may find yourself far more likely to experience a parking lot accident in this state.
Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
There are many reasons accidents happen in parking lots in Florida. One of the single most common is distracted driving. A public opinion poll from the National Safety Council found that as many as 66% of drivers nationally said they were engaging in common distracted driving practices in parking lots like making phone calls, texting, answering emails, and even using social media.
Distracted drivers aren’t the only problem in parking lots, though. Poor signage and striping, potholes, debris, and bad lighting can also lead to accidents and injuries. Large parking lots may mean more pedestrians, which could simply translate to one more distraction for drivers.
A Look At How Parking Lot Accidents Happen
While distracted driving and other obstacles are often involved in these cases, there are a few pretty typical ways these accidents occur. Sometimes, two drivers are trying to get in the same parking spot. Sometimes one driver is headed for a parking spot without realizing another driver is headed for the same one. Accidents backing out of parking spaces are quite common too. In some cases, a driver is backing out of a space and doesn’t notice a vehicle is coming. Sometimes two drivers try to back out at the same time.
Drivers have even been backing out of spaces when another driver opens his or her door simultaneously. Pedestrians are also often involved in these accidents. Occasionally a driver backing out doesn’t see a pedestrian. Sometimes a driver is simply going too fast to stop for a pedestrian, or the pedestrian doesn’t stop where they should to make sure it’s clear. It’s even possible that the other driver ignored the posted sign (like a stop or yield sign) in the parking lot and hit the other driver.
No matter how the accident occurs, though, understanding when the law will be on your side and when it won’t is key.
Understanding Parking Lot Accident Laws in Florida
Florida has unique laws when it comes to parking lot accidents. To decide who is actually at fault, a judge evaluates what happened on both sides, then decides who is negligent, whether that person is the driver or a pedestrian. Parking lot right of way can be pretty confusing for many, and it’s often responsible for accidents. It is one of the many factors taken into account after an accident occurs. Besides right of way, though, a judge will look at whether either party was distracted or impaired, whether the individual was backing out while there were others in the way, if speed was a factor, and if the parking lot posted rules were followed. If someone caused intentional harm, that would become part of the case as well.
Florida is considered a no-fault state, but that may not mean what you think it does. Instead, it just means that everyone must have insurance to cover their own damages when there are minor personal injuries involved. When more severe injuries are involved, though, legal proceedings often become part of the picture. Florida’s comparative fault policy means that it is possible more than one person can be at fault for an accident, making a report essential in these cases.
Make a Report
If an accident does occur, you must report it to the police. If anyone is injured or the damage is likely to be more than $500, the police must be involved, so err on the side of caution and make the report. While the police may not respond, you still have to go to the station and make a report, filing a statement so your insurance company (and the other party’s insurance company) can access it at a later time.
You’ll also have to gather evidence to show who is liable, so be sure to take plenty of photos both of your vehicle and the other person’s. If possible, take those photos before anyone moves the vehicle. You may also want to gather the names and addresses of witnesses. The parking lot may be under surveillance by a local business, so typically you can provide that information to a court as well.
Get The Right Help
If you’re involved in a parking lot accident, make sure you get the right help. A team of experienced parking lot accident attorneys is your best bet to have your case fairly evaluated so you can get the compensation you deserve.