Parking Lot Accidents in New Jersey
Most parking lot accidents involve vehicles traveling at a low speed, with bent fenders or doors as a result. But all too often these accidents result in serious injuries and even deaths, especially when pedestrians are involved. A parking lot can be at a place of employment, enjoyment or shopping. No matter why you’re there, pay attention and be careful — whether you’re driving or walking in a New Jersey parking lot.
PARKING LOT ACCIDENTS ARE A FREQUENT OCCURRENCE.
- A female driver was charged with drunk driving after an accident involving two other vehicles in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Mansfield, reports nj.com. A police officer responding to the scene found Eileen Kuck, the 59-year-old driver, inside a vehicle crashed into a light post.
- A pregnant, 25-year-old woman was killed in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Marina, California, according to the Monterrey Herald. She was walking in the parking lot when she was struck by a vehicle. First responders found her pinned underneath.
- A Salt Lake City woman pled guilty to crimes related to a fatal accident in a Utah parking lot. Lindsy Ann Floyd, 31, was charged with third-degree felony automobile homicide in connection with the death of 73-year-old George Kassavetis, of Salt Lake City, in 2015 reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Floyd was driving while intoxicated.
- A San Jose, California, mall parking lot was the scene of the death of a six-year-old boy, struck by a car. The accident occurred at night, and police told ABC7 News they didn’t know whether the driver was distracted or didn’t see the family because of poor visibility.
Parking lots can be especially hazardous for pedestrians. A 2012 study of parking lot design and safety by John Stark of Montgomery County, Maryland, reported that:
- 22% of their total pedestrian-automobile accidents between January 2006 and June 2008 occurred in parking lots.
- Almost one in five parking lot accidents involving pedestrians resulted in incapacitating injuries.
- From 2004 to 2009, parking lots usually had the lowest number of severe collisions but they were the site of 15%-30% of severe injuries occurring in accidents in the county.
Motorists who use parking lots can quickly become distracted pedestrians, Stark wrote. Drivers look for that golden parking spot, through cars and across lanes to see if they can hurry to grab that last good spot. Most of us have been a driver in a hurry or a distracted pedestrian in a parking lot.
We have used parking lots so many times our behavior becomes automatic, with little thought involved. A driver may not be truly focused on driving or parking the car. While scanning the scene for the right spot, or pulling out of one, a driver may not notice other vehicles or pedestrians around the vehicle.
There are many considerations that can go into who is at fault in a parking lot accident. Parking lots have right-of-way rules, but drivers can find some situations confusing:
- When vehicles are in a thoroughfare or a feeder lane. A thoroughfare is a lane that exits to a street. Feeder lanes are smaller lanes that end and begin at the thoroughfares. Those on a thoroughfare have the right-of-way over those coming out of feeder lanes.
- A vehicle moving out of a parking space must yield to those driving through the lane. Like the situation with a car leaving a driveway onto a street, a vehicle in a parking space doesn’t have right-of-way over those in the feeder lane.
- All stop and yield signs in a parking lot need to be observed, just as they would on any street. Failure to obey posted signs can leave you at fault in a resulting accident.
- Vehicles should yield to pedestrians.
Weather, poor maintenance and poor lighting may also contribute to an accident. Not only may a driver be at fault, but those owning or maintaining the parking lot may also be liable if the area isn’t lit properly or cleared of ice or snow.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a parking lot accident because of someone else’s negligence, an experienced attorney at The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A., can help. A time limit applies to when a New Jersey personal injury lawsuit can be filed, so don’t wait to contact a motor vehicles accident attorney in Parsippany, NJ. The sooner you seek medical treatment and legal counsel, the better.
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