An estimated 20% of all car accidents happen in parking lots. Among those, about 9% of parking lot fatalities happen when a car is attempting to reverse.
A lot of factors contribute to why so many car accidents happen in parking lots, but one thing remains consistent – an Atlanta parking lot accident often leads to substantial losses. You’d think that parking lot crashes would be less severe due to most motorists going at a reduced speed in these areas, but the reverse is more likely. That’s because a vehicle is more likely to strike a pedestrian.
When you experience any type of car accident that leaves you coping with substantial losses, you need to know your legal options for recovery. In many situations, you could be able to pursue a claim for compensation.
To figure out your best course of action, it might make the most sense to consult with an Atlanta parking lot accident lawyer. Learn more about parking lot accidents, personal injury claims, and how an attorney can help you move forward below.
Definition of a Parking Lot Accidents
By definition, parking lot accidents are incidents that happen in a parking lot. Typically, this type of accident involves a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. That isn’t the only type of potential parking lot accident situation, though. An incident might occur between two vehicles or one vehicle and one parked vehicle. It could also be a single-vehicle accident if a motorist hits a pole, shopping cart, or other parking lot structure.
In general, a parking lot accident leads to losses. From property damage to medical bills from an injury, the financial costs can start to stack up.
What’s more, multiple parties could potentially be at-fault for the accident depending on the circumstances of the accident. A vehicle driver is usually the person considered to be at fault, but it is possible for other parties to be held liable including the parking lot owner, another driver, or another negligent party.
The Laws Surrounding Parking Lot Accidents
When a parking lot accident does happen and the losses are significant, laws in Atlanta can help victims cope with the financial impact. Georgia is considered an at-fault accident state. That means the laws help support accident victims by shifting legal (and financial) liability to the at-fault driver. In general, the driver who is considered most at fault will bear most of the losses of the accident.
What happens when fault isn’t so clear cut, though? For instance, what if two parties both contributed to a crash?
Georgia courtrooms operate on a comparative negligence standard. This means that victims can still seek compensation in a personal injury claim so long as they are 49% at fault (or less) for the crash. When the person seeking out the claim is 50% or more at fault for the accident, they will not be able to file a claim for compensation.
While the laws surrounding parking lot accidents in Georgia are clear, attributing fault to various parties can be tricky. This is especially true when you have two parties that disagree on what happened or who should be considered most at-fault. When you find yourself in a battle over who is at fault, it’s time to contact an Atlanta parking lot accident attorney as soon as possible.
Examples of Negligent Drivers and Potentially At-Fault Parties
A driver will be considered at fault when they’re proven to be negligent behind the wheel. Every driver has a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of other motorists and pedestrians on the road. When a driver fails to uphold that duty, they’re considered negligent and at-fault.
Here are a few examples of negligent driving:
- Texting while driving
- Driving while under the influence
- Engaging in reckless driving
- Road rage behaviors
- Fatigued driving
Drivers aren’t the only parties that can behave in a negligent way and cause a car accident, though. For instance, a negligent mechanic could repair a vehicle in a faulty way that later causes the part to fail and the car to crash. In this type of situation, the mechanic might be ruled at-fault for the crash.
In another scenario, maybe a car manufacturer created unsafe conditions with a faulty design in a new car. If that design later contributes to or causes an accident, then the manufacturer might be held responsible for the accident.
Insurance Companies and Their Roles in Parking Lot Accidents
Considering that Georgia is an at-fault state, does that mean that insurance companies don’t come into play? Not exactly. In Georgia, all drivers are legally obligated to take out a car insurance policy. The reason for this law is clear – insurance policies help pay off a car accident claim. When you don’t have an insurance policy, you can be held personally liable for the fallout of an accident.
Unless you’re very well off financially, you’d likely struggle with such a settlement against you.
Holding a car insurance policy means that you won’t be held personally liable for the entirety of a car accident claim. If you’re at fault, then your car insurance policy will come into play. They should pay off the damages up to your policy limits. Depending on how substantial the accident claim is, you could still be held personally liable for some of the accident losses, but that will only happen after your insurance pays off as much as it can.
How to Handle an Insurance Call
Since car insurance policies play such a big role in accident claims, it makes sense that you’re obligated to inform your provider about a crash as soon as possible after it happens. How you handle that insurance call, however, will play a massive role in how your claim is handled moving forward.
Your car insurance provider is a for-profit business at the end of the day. That being said, they have an incentive to minimize claims and pay out as little as possible. They will be looking for specific signs, statements, and evidence that would prove why they shouldn’t pay out the claim. For instance, you might make a statement like “I made a mistake,” or “I’m not injured.” You might make these claims in the moment, but they can later be used as evidence against you.
To help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, consider hiring a lawyer before you inform your insurance provider about the accident. A lawyer will handle any calls for you. This not only protects your rights but also keeps the door open for future claims.
Injury Claims after a Parking Lot Accident in Atlanta
A parking lot accident can lead to substantial losses, especially if a vehicle strikes a pedestrian or causes some serious injuries. Here are a few examples of the types of losses associated with parking lot accidents:
- Medical bills
- The costs of future medical needs
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- A loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering (emotional distress)
When a car insurance policy won’t fully cover the extent of your losses, it might be necessary to seek out a personal injury claim against the other party (or the other party’s insurance policy). Victims can seek out claims when the other party was at least 51% at fault for the accident.
Establishing Negligence in a Parking Lot Crash
As described above, it can be very challenging to establish who is at fault for a car accident. This is especially true when multiple parties are involved and evidence isn’t readily available. The good news is that hiring a lawyer early on in your case can help you establish negligence. That’s because a good lawyer will immediately begin investigating what happened and collecting time-sensitive evidence where possible.
Maximum Compensation for Medical Bills, Property Damage, and More
This thorough investigation and documentation process will help the claimant secure maximum compensation for the losses they’ve endured. Without the proper investigation or evidence, the claimant might not receive the settlement award that they rightfully deserve.
How to Handle a Parking Lot Accident in Atlanta
Have you experienced a parking lot accident in Atlanta? Handling the next steps appropriately is paramount to any future claim you might seek out. First, involve the police, especially if you think you could be injured. The police, at the very least, will document what happened in an official police report. Next, collect evidence at the scene if you’re able to do so. Take pictures, get any witness’s contact details, and provide any necessary details to the police. From there, get the medical care you need. Be sure to save your medical bills and copies of any medical diagnoses.
Should the Cops Get Involved?
In general, yes. You should involve the police with any car accident that results in significant property damage or any physical injuries.
Seek Out Medical Care and Document Your Losses
It’s important to seek out medical care and to document your losses in a timely manner. If you don’t get medical treatment promptly, then that gives the other party a chance to chip away at a potential claim later. The other party, for instance, might argue that you made your injuries worse by delaying medical care. They could also poke doubt into your claims and argue that you must have injured yourself sometime between the car accident and seeking out care. Prevent any of this from happening to you by getting medical treatment as soon as you can after your crash.
Consider the Extent of Your Losses and Learn Your Rights
Once you’ve received medical care, it’s time to start considering your losses. The extent of your losses and the severity of your injuries will likely determine how you’ll move forward. If your losses are minimal, then it might be best to settle with your insurance provider and move on. If they’re substantial, then it might be necessary to seek out a claim to recover financially.
Legal Representation for Parking Lot Accidents in Atlanta
Hiring an Atlanta parking lot accident lawyer is one of the best things you can do after experiencing an accident. In general, the sooner you hire legal representation, the more likely you are to experience a more favorable legal outcome.
The Benefits of Working with an Expert Attorney on Your Side
The benefits of hiring an Atlanta parking lot accident lawyer are multi-faceted. Here are some of the advantages you’ll experience when you hire a lawyer:
- You can rely on the lawyer’s knowledge and experience
- You have a greater chance of a more favorable legal outcome
- Your lawyer can field any negotiations or talks with insurance providers
- You maximize your chances of documenting every loss
- Your lawyer’s investigation can reveal crucial evidence that may have been missed by police
- Your lawyer will handle your claim while you recover
Hiring an attorney isn’t necessary to seeking out a claim, but without one, you’ll need to manage the entirety of your claim on your own. You only have one chance at a hearing, so you’ll want to make sure you put your best foot forward as you initially file your claim.
Are You Looking for an Atlanta Parking Lot Accident Lawyer?
When you experience losses after an accident, it makes sense to talk to an Atlanta parking lot accident lawyer about your options. The right lawyer will listen to you explain the circumstances of your crash. They’ll want to learn more about the extent of your losses. They’ll also ask questions to get a better idea of what may have caused the crash.
Based on this preliminary information, they will help you decide if it’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer and pursue a claim.
In general, a good lawyer won’t recommend pursuing a claim unless they know your case has the potential to be successful. This is especially true if the law firm you hire works on a contingency fee basis. Under this type of payment arrangement, you won’t have to pay your lawyer unless you win your case.
Are you in Atlanta or a nearby area? Did you recently experience a parking lot crash that’s led to a windfall of financial loss for you and your family? Our team wants to help. Contact us now to schedule a case review and discuss your accident in more detail with an Atlanta car accidents lawyer.