The Basics of Parking Lot Accidents

What Makes Parking Lots So Dangerous?

Parking lots are one of the most common areas for collisions to occur. EHS Today reports that an average of fifty thousand accidents occurs in parking lots across the United States every year. While you might think that parking lot accidents are usually minor fender benders, the fact is that they can cause serious injuries and even permanent disabilities. Pedestrians, small children, and the elderly are especially susceptible to being seriously injured in a parking lot auto accident. 

If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver in a parking lot, you have the legal right to be compensated for all the losses you have suffered. These losses can include medical bills, projected future medical expenses, lost wages, any decreases to your future earning potential, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other losses that were a direct result of the defendant’s negligence.

As a victim, it’s important to understand that the other driver’s insurance company will try to pay as little as possible. They might even try to deny responsibility for the accident altogether. This fact is why it is so important to hire an experienced auto accident attorney to protect your legal right to compensation. 


Parking Lots Are Chaotic Places

There are many reasons why auto accidents are especially likely to occur in parking lots. One of the biggest problems is the hectic confusion of a parking lot. Cars are moving in different directions, pulling in and out of parking spaces, and it can be difficult to know where a driver is headed. Many drivers are not paying attention. Some fail to signal their turns and show others where they are going. All this chaos can make it difficult for drivers to avoid colliding with another vehicle, lane dividers, pedestrians, and other obstacles in the parking lot. 

Dangerous Drivers

Dangerous driving behaviors are another major factor in all collisions – including those that occur in parking lots. A disturbing number of drivers admit to being distracted by navigation systems, texts and emails, social media, and other electronic devices that divert attention from the road. Drivers can also be distracted by food, drinks, pets, or children in the car. Some drivers even choose to engage in grooming like shaving, hair styling or applying makeup instead of keeping their attention on the road where it belongs. All of these distracted driving behaviors can lead to serious accidents. Distracted driving is one of the most common ways to find a driver negligent. Negligent drivers are legally at fault for causing an accident, and this creates a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for the losses they have sustained.

Poor Parking Lot Design

Another factor contributing to parking lot accidents is the design of the lot itself. Many lots have poor lighting, especially in underground or covered parking garages. They have tight turns and parking spots that are not visible from all angles. These characteristics can make it difficult for drivers to see all activity and avoid collisions. The best practice when driving in such a parking lot is to slow down. The more time you have to react to obstacles, the better options you will have for colliding with them. Slow down, keep a close eye on activity in all directions, and never assume that another driver will yield the right-of-way even if you’re sure you have it. 

How to Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

Many common mistakes contribute to the high rate of car accidents in parking lots. Follow these safety tips to avoid collisions: 

  • Drive slowly! This is the best way to see obstacles in the parking lot. When you drive slower, you have to avoid obstacles and accidents. 
  • Stay in lanes and cutting across lots. Unexpected movements make it more difficult for other drivers to avoid you. 
  • Use your turn signals. Doing This will help other drivers see you and anticipate where you are going. 
  • Anticipate the actions of other drivers. Watch in all directions, and do not assume that another driver will yield to you. 
  • Obey stop signs, no parking signs, and other directions. 
  • Watch for small children. They are lower to the ground, which can make them more challenging to see. They also tend to be unpredictable in their movements. Be prepared to stop quickly if a child suddenly steps into your path. 
  • Use extra caution when backing up. Reverse cameras are helpful, but you should never rely exclusively on technology. Look around for traffic, pedestrians, strollers, and other obstacles in all directions before you put your vehicle in reverse. 
  • Put your purchases in the trunk when possible. If you load up your passenger compartment in a way that obstructs your view, it can be more challenging to see obstructions and avoid collisions. 

Tap into Safety Technology

National Safety Council analysis of government data indicates that 9% of pedestrian deaths in parking lots result from backup incidents. Many vehicles are now equipped with backup cameras, which provide a wide view behind a vehicle operating in reverse, but that view may not be clear if the camera lens becomes obstructed. Remember these 3 safety tips:

  • It’s best to conduct a quick, 360-degree walk-around before backing, keeping an eye out for low-lying objects
  • Don’t rely completely on technology; look over your shoulder and use your mirrors as you back up
  • When parking, pull through on arrival whenever possible and if it works with the flow of traffic

Monitoring systems can alert drivers of vehicles in blind spots. Typically, drivers are warned of another vehicle’s presence via symbol, sound or vibration. These systems may not detect motorcycles, smaller objects or people, however.


The person who is legally responsible (liable) for causing a car accident also has a legal obligation to compensate victims of that accident for their injuries and losses. This fact is why insurance companies investigate accidents to determine who was “at fault.” 

Liability can be assigned to either driver or apportioned between the drivers. It can even be assigned to an unknown third party. For example, if two cars collide after swerving to avoid a mattress on the highway, the accident might be found to be the fault of whoever left the bed on the road.

Who is at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident in California?

Because parking lots are hectic and confusing, it is very common for both drivers to bear some fault for a parking lot accident. Pedestrians and bicyclists can also be at fault. This is likely when they are not in designated crosswalks or bike lanes, dart out from between cars unexpectedly, or engage in other behaviors that make it difficult for drivers to see and avoid them. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycle riders, and others should navigate parking lots carefully. Be sure all drivers can see you. Do not make unexpected or sudden movements. Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you. This will not only help you avoid parking lot collisions, but it will also protect your right to compensation if you are involved in an accident.


Call Us Today to Speak with a California Parking Lot Accident Attorney

The experienced auto accident lawyers at Arash Law believe in fighting hard to protect injury victims’ rights to compensation. We have collected over 500 million dollars for our clients. We have helped accident victims in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and throughout California. 

Our personal injury attorneys have over twenty years of experience. We know how to negotiate fair settlement offers and when to take a case to trial and how to prove losses to a jury to get a fair compensation award. With our no-win, no-fee guarantee, you will never pay us legal fees unless we win your case. Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California auto accident lawyer.

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DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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