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Who is at Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?

With Christmas just around the corner, parking lots are more frantic than ever. In more normal times around a fifth of all car accidents happen in and around parking lots, so when the Christmas rush is on, it’s likely to be more than that. Injuries don’t just happen because of careless driving. Parking lots are also sometimes crime prone. The question of who is liable if there is a car accident or mugging arises when someone is injured in a parking lot.

Generally, the owners or managers of parking lots are not liable for damage to vehicles or injuries except in specific conditions. It can be hard to know whether a parking lot owner is in fact responsible for the safety and security of people and their vehicles who use their property. The best advice is always to talk to a personal injury attorney before deciding about making a claim for compensation.

A parking lot owner or operator may be considered liable or partly liable for an injury that occurs in their parking lot if the design or maintenance of the parking lot is unsatisfactory. If there is a valet involved, then the care of the vehicle is most likely the vale’s responsible. As far as injuries due to crime are concerned, the owner / operator maybe considered liable if there has been a history of crime in the vicinity and there has been nothing done to alert users of the parking lot, or to provide safety features, such as surveillance cameras, security guards, etc.

Careless driving the most common reason for parking lot accidents

The most common accidents are caused by careless driving. The more congested the parking lot, the more common are those sorts of accidents. Generally, most drivers drive slowly through and in parking lots, but that doesn’t mean they drive carefully. The slow speeds tend to lull drivers into a false sense of security and it is common to observe drivers multi-tasking, something which can easily lead to an accident.

The typical car accident is caused when drivers edge into, out of, or through spaces and lanes in a parking lot, hitting other vehicles, or pedestrians making their way to and from their vehicles and the offices or stores they are visiting.

If the accident involves a pedestrian struck by a car or other vehicle, then the injured pedestrian is unlikely to be blamed. The injured pedestrian would have good grounds for seeking compensation from the driver of the vehicle that hit them.

In some states, like California, pedestrians have automatic rights over the movements of vehicles, whether they are crossing a road at a marked crosswalk or not. This is not the case in Mississippi, but in a parking lot situation, it should be assumed that there would be pedestrians using the space to move around and therefore a presumption that drivers look out for them and give them an opportunity to cross safely in front of them.

Comparative negligence rules in Mississippi

When there is a collision between two vehicles, then the situation may be more complicated. One of the two drivers may be solely to blame, or both share some of the blame. Mississippi uses a pure comparative negligence system for working out personal injury payments. The amount of fault in a shared fault scenario is apportioned between the two drivers and neither is entitled to full compensation.

The shared fault law applies to pedestrian accidents as well. For example, say a driver is slowly making his or her way through a parking lot with other vehicles close behind. A pedestrian suddenly dashes across in front of the car. The car driver applies the brakes and misses the pedestrian, but the vehicle behind collides with the back of the car, causing damage and injuries. In this case, the pedestrian may be considered partly to blame and could possibly be sued for a percentage of damages.

Parking lot accidents caused by vehicle crashes and muggings are likely to be more common in the pre-Christmas rush. The question of liability is important, but not always easy to work out. If you have been injured or your car damaged in a Jackson parking lot you should make an appointment with the Diaz Law Firm to discuss a possible personal injury claim. You can contact the office at 601-607-3456.