Parking lots and garages are busy places, and accidents and collisions are quite common. The National Safety Council has said that more than 500 people die every year, and around 60,000 are injured in US parking lot crashes. Many of these accidents are caused by distracted drivers.
With high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, it is easy for drivers to become confused or inattentive when driving through parking lots. This can cause collisions between pedestrians and vehicles that may lead to severe and even fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in a parking lot or parking garage, you should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps.
Though all pedestrians are vulnerable in an accident, children and older adults face an increased risk of serious injury or death.
Since children are smaller than adults, the point of impact during a collision is different. Where the front of a vehicle would hit an adult in their leg or hip, it will strike a child’s upper body or head, increasing the chance of severe, disabling, or fatal injury.
For elderly people, the chance of recovery after being hit by a car is much lower. Elderly people are more susceptible to injury because bones and muscles tend to weaken with age and take longer to heal. Older people are also more likely to suffer from pre-existing conditions that can make an injury more dangerous that it would normally be. 20% of all pedestrian deaths occur in individuals who are 65 or older.
The National Safety Council has found that around two-thirds of drivers using parking lots are distracted. One in five traffic accidents happens in parking lots.
A leading cause of this distraction is the use of cell phones. A National Safety Council survey found that of those polled:
- 66% felt it was okay to make calls while driving in a parking lot
- Over 50% were happy to send emails, use social media, take photographs or watch videos while driving through a parking lot
- 42% were fine with video chatting from behind the wheel
This type of distraction can lead to drivers making driving mistakes such as:
- Backing out of parking spaces without looking
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Driving the wrong direction
- Getting too close to the vehicle in front, and being unable to stop if that driver hits the brakes
- Turning in front of oncoming vehicles
- Driving through stop signs and crosswalks
- Looking for a parking space rather than at the road ahead, and striking another vheicle or a pedestrian
Parking lot car accident injuries can range from relatively minor cuts or bruises to life-changing back or head trauma. When an accident involves high speed or a pedestrian, the injuries sustained will likely be severe
Confusion over who has the right of way causes many accidents, including in parking lots. New York’s traffic laws state when the right of way should be yielded.
In New York, the law states you must yield right of way to drivers in the following situations:
- If you are turning left and any approaching traffic is close enough to be a hazard
- If two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, the driver turning left must give way to traffic turning right or going straight
- At an intersection to traffic already using the intersection
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians on marked and unmarked crosswalks
- If entering a roadway from an area that is not a roadway, you must yield to traffic and pedestrians on the roadway
- If turning left into a driveway or parking lot
- At an intersection where two drivers are at right angles to one another, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right
Drivers are expected to operate their vehicles using reasonable care not to harm others. This is their legal obligation known as a duty of care. If they breach this duty of care through their negligence, they may be found liable for any injuries they cause.
A driver may have breached their duty of care if they cause an accident in a parking lot by:
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Failing to yield right of way
- Failing to look in their mirrors
- Failing to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians and other vehicles
If you have been injured in a parking lot or parking garage accident due to another driver’s negligence, consult a personal injury lawyer to protect your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if the other driver is at-fault for the accident.
Our Syracuse car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights. Contact Catalano Law today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.