Parking Lot Accident – Fault, Negligence and Other Issues

A parking lot accident can ruin your weekend. If you ever went to the grocery store, you know that the

parking lot is a deadly trap. It is not uncommon seeing people backing out while

smoking a cigarette, or talking in their cellular phone. It is even worst when

you honk at them and they look at you as if you were doing something wrong. If

you are in a parking lot accident, there are several things you need to know

about before it is too late.

Most parking lots in America are considered private

property, and most of the accidents are low speed impacts. This means that

“usually” there will not be people making bodily injury claims, at least not at

the scene. The combination of the two allows the police decline your call for

help. It is very likely that the police will not respond to document the


You will be left at your own devices to get the other

party’s information and defending your case. A parking lot accident usually gets

complicated. Drivers have very different perspectives of what happened and word

vs. word situations will most likely arise if you do not have witnesses

(insurance companies require independent witnesses, so your passengers will not


It is often the case that the other party will not want to

give you their information. This is when things can get ugly. How can you file a

claim if you do not have their information? Call the police again (even if that

is after they left) and try to get them to come out. If they don’t, then go to

the closes police station and file a walk in report. Write everything you know

and exactly what happened. This will help you later on to document your claim.

There are two reasons why people won’t give you their

insurance information. Either they do not have insurance (way to often in the

U.S.) or they think you are responsible for the accident. The common view is “if

you hit me, then your insurance should pay”. In no fault statues (like

Michigan), this does not apply, but all fault states most driver do not want to

file against their own insurance company. Although this is a reasonable

deduction, it is misguided.

Insurance agents try to discourage people from making claim

against their own insurance policy. They worry about your rates. Most of the

time, your rates will not be affected if you are a good customer and the

accident is not your fault. Agents also have personal motives for this; they

have “loss ratio” percentages that can lower their commissions, so they want to

discourage claims as much as they can. No filing a claim can jeopardize

coverage, you have a duty to report an accident, and not doing so can left you

without coverage.

This can put you in a very bad spot. If you do not file a

claim then no defense against bodily injury claims and ludicrous claim will be

paid by the insurance company. Protecting your defense rights can save you

thousands of dollars in legal fees in paying someone’s alleged injuries.

Even if your parking lot accident is minor and the damages

are not significant, call the insurance company and put them on notice. This

will protect you in case the other party makes a claim against you. Remember

that a parking lot accident is the single most disputed accident out there.

Make sure you file a police report, even if that is a walk

in report. This will protect you in case the other person does not have

insurance. Most

Uninsured Property Damage Coverage in the policy makes it a requirement that

you file a police report, this will accomplish that.

It is a great idea to go back to the parking lot and talk

to the business owners (or managers). Many parking lots in America have

surveillance cameras and it is likely that the accident was caught in tape. This

will be the single most important piece of evidence. Should your adjuster get

that? Yeah, she should. But that does not mean that she will. Unfortunately

there are many adjusters that will only take a recorded statement and call it an


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