Are parking lot accidents in SC no- fault?
It's something I've heard most of my life, but it is not true. If a driver is negligent in a parking lot they are responsible for any damage that they cause, just as they would be responsible if they were driving on a highway.
Although most people think of auto accidents as collisions that happen on the highway or at intersections, it shouldn't be any surprise that many auto accidents happen in parking lots, and most of those happen within a few miles of a person's home.
Below, we'll take a look at parking lot accidents in SC, how to avoid them, and who is at fault.
Common Types of Parking Lot Accidents in SC
Auto accidents and pedestrian accidents in Myrtle Beach parking lots are common. Why?
- There is a concentration of many different vehicles navigating a small enclosed space;
- Vehicles are moving in different directions, there are obstacles to navigate, and people often do not stick to the lanes;
- Parking lots are often filled with pedestrians walking to and from their cars, and children may be running in the same lanes that cars are driving in; and
- People are often stressed out in parking lots - can't find a parking space, competing for parking spaces, managing children, and rushing to get to the next place/item on their list.
What are some of the more common types of parking lot accidents in SC and how can we avoid them?
Careless Driving in Parking Lots
Drivers often take unreasonable risks while driving through parking lots, including:
- Speeding - although there are not always speed limit signs, any speed greater than 5 mph is likely to be unsafe in a crowded parking lot;
- Not using the lanes - drivers will often cut across empty parking spaces to get where they are going, instead of using the lanes;
- Failure to follow directions - drivers will often ignore directional arrows that may be marked on the pavement in the driving lanes; and
- Racing to a parking space - if parking is scarce and two cars are competing to get to the same space, it can result in an auto accident or pedestrian injuries.
Distracted Driving in Parking Lots
Although parking lots are a place where drivers should be more careful, the opposite is often true. Distracted driving is common in parking lots.
As people are walking to their cars, entering their cars, and leaving their parking spaces, they will often:
- Make phone calls - letting the spouse know that the store was out of bread, that you'll be running late, or you're on the way home;
- Text friends and family;
- Check their email or social media accounts;
- Program the GPS to get to the next destination; or
- Engage in other "getting going" activities that distract the driver from what is happening around them in the parking lot.
Common Types of Parking Lot Accidents in SC
The most common types of parking lot accidents that we see in SC include:
- Pedestrian collisions - when a driver strikes a pedestrian while they are entering a parking space, leaving a parking space, or just driving through the parking lot;
- A collision with a parked car - backing into a parked car, hitting a parked car as you drive by, or hitting another car or person with your car door as you open it;
- Backing into a moving vehicle or driving forward into an oncoming vehicle as the driver leaves a parking space; or
- Two vehicles colliding as they race to park in the same space.
How to Prevent Parking Lot Accidents
Although there are times when someone else's negligence causes a parking lot accident that you are powerless to avoid, there are steps that you can take to decrease the likelihood that a parking lot accident will happen to you:
- Keep your children close and do not allow them to run through parking lots;
- Be alert - know what is happening on all sides and look twice;
- Drive slowly - the faster you are driving through a parking lot, the less reaction time you (and other drivers or pedestrians) will have to avoid a collision;
- Use your turn signals - make sure that drivers and pedestrians nearby know what your intentions are; and
- Follow instructions on traffic signs - look for stop signs, no parking signs, handicapped only signs, and directional arrows painted on the pavement.
Are Parking Lot Accidents in SC No-Fault?
SC does not have a no-fault rule for parking lot accidents.
Just like on the highway, at an intersection, or any other location, the driver who was negligent is responsible for any damage that they caused. There are some situations where an accident may be both drivers' faults, however.
If both drivers are racing to a parking space and they collide, both drivers might be at fault. On the other hand, what if the other driver was making a left turn into the parking space and you had the right of way?
If two drivers are backing out of parking spaces and collide because neither driver saw the other, both drivers may be equally at fault for the accident.
In most cases, however, one driver will be at fault. Examples of negligence that leads to parking lot accidents include:
- Failure to follow instructions or disregarding traffic signs;
- Failure to yield the right-of-way to another driver;
- Failure to look before backing out of a parking space;
- Driving the wrong way or driving through parking spaces instead of in the driving lanes;
- Using an electronic device while driving in a parking lot;
- Driving while drunk in a parking lot; or
- Failure to follow traffic laws while driving in a parking lot.
What if I'm a Victim of a Hit-and-Run in a Parking Lot?
If a driver hits your car (or you) and leaves the scene, they most likely have committed the crime of hit and run.
You will need to file a police report, make sure that you get contact information for any witnesses to the accident, and then contact your personal injury lawyer to find out what your next steps are.
The other driver may be located, you may be able to recover damages from your own uninsured/underinsured policy, or there may be other alternate sources of recovery - talk to your auto accident attorney as soon as possible to find out what your options are.
If you were hurt in a Myrtle Beach parking lot accident caused by another driver's carelessness, your Myrtle Beach auto accident attorney on the Axelrod team will meet with you, investigate the accident, help you to determine who was at fault, and help you to recover maximum damages whenever possible through a settlement or lawsuit.