How is Fault Determined in Parking Lot Accidents?

When most people think of car accidents, they think of incidents that occur on the roadways. However, it is important to remember that collisions can occur in parking lots as well. Parking lots are incredibly busy areas, and these areas can present significant dangers to those inside their vehicles as well as to pedestrians walking across the parking lot. At Horwitz Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago car accident lawyers want to discuss how fault is determined in the aftermath of a parking lot crash.

determining fault in parking lot accidents

Illinois Parking Lot Laws

Illinois parking laws are put in place to avoid accidents. In a parking lot, whether at a shopping center or an office complex, there are going to be various “parking lanes” with cars parked on either side. There will also usually be “through lanes” around the perimeter of the parking lot that allowed vehicles to enter these parking lanes.

If a vehicle is in the “through lanes,” then it will generally have the right of way. Drivers approaching through lanes from any parking lanes will need to yield the right of way to drivers in the through lane. If a driver fails to yield the right of way when coming out of a parking lane into the through lane and strikes another vehicle, then the driver leaving the parking lane will likely be at fault.

Fault in a Parking Lot Crash

However, many car accidents in parking lots occur with two vehicles in the parking lanes. Vehicles that are driving down parking lanes have the right of way over any vehicle seeking to back out of a parking place. Often, these incidents occur when one or more vehicles are moving in reverse. In most scenarios, if a driver is backing out of a parking space and strikes another vehicle in the parking lane, then the driver that was going in reverse will typically be at fault for the incident.

If two vehicles are backing out of parking places on the opposite sides of the same parking lane, then the fault will likely be more difficult to determine if they strike one another. In these scenarios, both drivers had a responsibility to ensure that it was reasonably safe for them to back out of the parking space. When one vehicle has already started to back up, any other vehicle should wait for the area behind them to clear before reversing. The vehicle that begins backing out first should have the right of way in these scenarios. Unfortunately, “simultaneous backup” parking lot crashes occur regularly, and fault can be difficult to determine.

Pedestrians will generally always have the right of way in parking lot scenarios, regardless of whether or not there are marked pedestrian crossing areas.

Call an Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you or somebody you love has been involved in a parking lot accident, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At Horwitz Horwitz & Associates we are dedicated to helping clients recover any compensation for their injuries or property damage if another person caused an accident. We will conduct a complete investigation into the incident and work to secure any compensation you are entitled to. When you need an Illinois car accident attorney to help after a parking lot crash, please call our Chicago office at (312) 372-8822 or our Joliet office at (815) 723-8822. You can also call our toll free number at (800)-985-1819.