Everyone’s getting ready for Christmas, and that means that your local shopping malls are packed to the gills. Big box stores have shoppers driving up and down parking lot lanes, hoping someone is about to back out and leave. What would be a 20-minute trip any other time of the year will likely be at least an hour during the Christmas season, just because of parking lot delays. Unfortunately, an uptick in shopping traffic also means an increase in parking lot accidents.
If you’re involved in a parking lot collision, it’s important to know your rights and find out if you’re entitled to compensation. Start your claim by talking to the Atlanta personal injury lawyers at The Stein Firm—just call us at 855-589-0433 to get started.
Dangers During the Holidays
Parking lot collisions can happen at any time, but they are particularly prevalent during the holiday season. There’s a huge surge of traffic with people shopping for gifts, returning gifts they don’t like, and taking advantage of holiday sales. On top of that, you’ll likely see more distracted drivers than usual. People are thinking about their gift lists, worried about holiday finances, and trying to fit extra tasks into their already busy schedule. This makes it easier than ever to miss a car backing out and cause a crash. Determining fault in a parking lot collision is already tricky, but the added challenges of the holidays can make it even harder.
Assigning fault is an important part of pursuing compensation after a crash. It can be difficult in parking lot crashes since there are numerous factors involved. Your attorney may start by looking at the traffic rules and signs in the parking lot itself. Many parking lots, especially those with lots of holiday traffic, have plenty of stop signs and other signs to keep traffic moving smoothly.
If someone ignores a stop sign and hits someone in the process, determining fault is pretty straightforward. If the crash happened in a lane, rather than at an intersection, you need to look at the rules regarding right-of-way. For example, in most cases, the person already driving in the lane has right-of-way. Someone backing out of a parking spot is expected to yield until the moving lane is clear. However, drivers in the moving lane still have an obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident. If they see someone backing out in front of them and plowing into them with no attempt to stop, they may also be partially liable.
In cases involving an injured pedestrian, the fault often lies with the driver. Drivers are obligated to take reasonable steps to protect pedestrians. That means backing out slowly, looking for pedestrians at all times, and driving slowly enough to stop if a pedestrian walks in front of them. When drivers are whipping through a parking lot recklessly or texting while driving, they cannot properly watch for pedestrians.
Challenges in Assigning Fault and Holiday Delays
Parking lots are more ambiguous than public roadways. Right-of-way rules on the road do not always apply in parking lots, thanks to the varying structures and lane designations in parking lots. Parking lots, particularly when full, are known for having tight spaces and poor visibility. This ramps up the likelihood of a crash and makes it harder to determine fault.
If you’re involved in a crash during the holiday season, you may also face unexpected delays. Insurance companies may be overrun with claims at the same time that they have adjusters taking long vacations for the holidays. They may have a difficult time getting in touch with the other driver and their insurance provider, further dragging out the claims process. It’s important to be prepared for these delays and discuss your concerns with a car accident attorney in Atlanta.
Injured in a Crash? Call The Stein Firm
If you have been hurt in a car accident in Atlanta, don’t wait to find out if you’re entitled to compensation. We’re here to support you throughout the entire process and advocate for you. Give us a call at 855-589-0433 or reach out online to set up a free consultation now.