As a Massachusetts driver, you know that parking is at a premium. With hurried drivers looking for parking spots, pedestrians, and shopping carts all coming together in a small space, it’s no wonder that over 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and garages each year.
These accidents result in more than 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries. And unfortunately, many of these tragedies could have been prevented if people had just been more careful.
Distracted Driving in Parking Lots
A poll conducted by the National Safety Council revealed that Americans are much likelier to drive distractedly in a parking lot than they are on public roads and highways. For example:
- Two-thirds of respondents would take a phone call while driving in a parking lot.
- Over half would use their GPS, text or email, use social media, or groom themselves.
- Nearly half would take photos or videos, browse the internet, use a laptop or tablet, video chat, or watch TV or a movie.
Who’s at Fault in A Parking Lot Accident?
You may be surprised to learn that Massachusetts handles liability in parking lot accidents in the same way as accidents that happen on public roads and highways. Let’s explore how fault might be assigned in a parking lot accident.
When it comes to car insurance. Massachusetts is a modified no-fault state. This means that a person can be held at fault for an accident if they are more than 50% responsible.
Your own insurance policy will pay for the damage to your car and any injuries you sustain, up to your policy limit. If the costs of your injuries exceed $2,000, you may have the legal right to sue the at-fault driver for damages.
In some circumstances, Massachusetts law will automatically assign fault to a driver. These circumstances are known as the Standards of Fault. Standards of fault that may be applicable to parking lot accidents include:
- When a driver hits a pedestrian or a parked vehicle. This holds true even if the vehicle is parked illegally.
- When a driver rear-ends another vehicle.
- When a driver fails to signal before turning and then gets into a collision.
- When an unattended vehicle rolls and collides into something.
- When a driver is leaving a parking spot and hits something.
- When an open car door causes a collision.
The full list of the Standards of Fault is available in the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual.
Employee Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lots are considered part of an employer’s premises. If an employee is injured in a parking lot accident at their workplace during their working hours, the incident could be considered work-related.
If you have been injured in a parking lot while on the job, your employer may have a responsibility to compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. You should consult with an experienced personal injury and worker’s compensation attorney right away.
Parking Lot Accident Injuries
Even though most people drive more slowly in parking lots, an accident can still cause severe injuries. Pedestrians who are struck by cars traveling at any speed could be killed or sustain serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, or bone fractures. A person with these types of injuries may face a long and painful road to recovery or even permanent disability.
How to Prevent Parking Lot Accidents
There are several simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of being involved in a parking lot accident.
- Back into parking spots so you don’t have to reverse out when you leave.
- Don’t text, use social media, or program your GPS while driving in a parking lot.
- Check your mirrors and blind spots.
- Don’t rely on your backup camera.
- Drive a safe speed.
- Don’t cut across lots.
- Don’t groom yourself or put on makeup while driving.
- Put your phone away and stay vigilant when walking through a parking lot.
Get Help from A Massachusetts Parking Lot Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a parking lot car accident, the law office of Worcester personal injury attorney Peter Ventura can help. We specialize in defending the rights of clients who have suffered serious and complex injuries.
As a victim of a Massachusetts parking lot accident, you may find yourself unable to work, pay your medical bills, and provide for your family. We can help you fight for compensation for your treatment expenses and lost wages. Please contact our offices today to set up a free, no-risk consultation.