Many accidents take place in parking lots. Although parking lot accidents in MD are usually fender benders or drivers damaging parked cars, some very serious wrecks with injuries happen in strip mall lots and garages. People who suffer injuries or vehicle damage often ask ‘do insurance companies cover parking lot accidents in MD?’
Drivers who are involved in parking accidents sometimes think the insurance situation is different than that of wrecks on the open road. They may even assume the insurance companies won’t pay up. In this blog, Maryland car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains why insurance companies do cover claims made in these situations.
How Common are MD Parking Lot Accidents?
Most people rack up at least half a dozen parking lot accidents over their lifetimes. However, most of these incidents are cars backing into each other at low speeds, causing minimal damage. The insurance company State Farm points out about a fifth of all wrecks take place in parking lots. Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration states drivers cause about 103,000 accidents on average every year in Maryland. That’s about 20,000 parking lot accidents every year in the state.
What Are the Main Causes of MD Parking Lot Accidents?
Parking lot accidents are different from wrecks on the open road. The rules are different in car parks. Speeds are slower but more cars move in different directions, increasing the potential for things to go wrong. Parking lots in Maryland also bring vehicles into close contact with pedestrians. A lot of drivers and people on foot are distracted by the need to find a spot, find their car again, or to go shopping. It’s a recipe for chaos and accidents. The main causes of MD parking lot accidents include:
Drivers leaving a space must ensure the lane behind them is clear before they reverse. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Parking lot drivers face a lot of pressure. Spaces are often at a premium, particularly over the holidays and a driver behind you may be impatient to get into the space. Pedestrians and small children are particularly vulnerable to reversing drivers. Although all cars manufactured since 2018 have backup cameras, many older cars lack this feature. Large SUVs have blindspots. They can cause terrible injuries to children even at low speeds.
Drivers Not Following Right of Way Arrows
Most parking lots have arrows that tell drivers which way to go. We are always amazed at how many drivers see a parking garage as a free-for-all where no rules apply. They ignore the arrows and can cause head-on and broadside accidents. These wrecks often cause grave injuries even at low speeds.
Drivers Ignoring Stop Signs
Many drivers fail to come to a complete stop when they encounter stop signs in Maryland parking garages. Failing to abide by a stop sign can leave you liable for injuries and property damage to cars you hit.
Following too Closely
Drivers who tailgate are a menace on the roads. They exhibit the same behavior in parking lots. If the car in front stops to enter a space or reaches a stop sign, the tailgating car may run into the back of the car ahead. Rear-enders are the most common type of MD accident. Parking lots are no exception.
Ice and Bad Weather
Ice and snow often accumulate in outdoor parking lots, posing a menace for users. Drivers should slow down below posted speed limits in bad weather conditions. If a parking lot owner fails to clear ice or snow from the asphalt you may have grounds to file a lawsuit for injuries and property damage against the lot owner as well as the motorist who hit you.
Potholes and poor lighting
We have seen parking lots in Baltimore and elsewhere that are poorly maintained and badly lit. Potholes may damage your car and drivers are more likely to come to grief in dim parking lots. Drivers have a duty to react to conditions around them. They won’t get away with suing a parking lot owner if they were driving too fast or failed to see another vehicle. However, the condition of a parking lot can be a factor in a lawsuit. A Baltimore parking lot accident lawyer will be able to help you in your case.
Over 27,000 people are killed and injured by MD distracted drivers every year, states the MVA. Many drivers are highly distracted while they are parking. They are preoccupied with searching for spaces or getting close to a store and may not see other drivers or pedestrians. They could even be researching what stores to visit on their cellphone as they drive around the garage at the mall. In these cases you may need a Maryland pedestrian accident lawyer.
How To Deal With An Insurance Company After a Parking Lot Accidents in MD
Insurance claims for parking lot accidents in MD work in the same way as any other clam. Resist the temptation to behave differently because the accident occurred in a parking lot. The other driver may tell you it was only a fender bender at low speed and there’s no need to exchange insurance details. If you allow the other driver to leave without obtaining his or her details, it will be much harder to track them down later when you discover property damage to your car or you realize you suffered from whiplash. You may want to contact a Maryland whiplash lawyer.
You should call 911 after a serious wreck in an MD parking lot. A police officer will show up and take a report and cite at-fault parties in some cases.
Although the officer will file a report, always get the insurance and contact details of all of the parties to the accident. Take names and contact details of any witnesses to the crash. If possible, take photos of the wreck scene and damage to your car and others on your cellphone. If you hire a car accident injury lawyer, we will seek video footage from the lot or garage that may have captured your accident.
One of the challenges in dealing with an insurance company after parking lot accidents in MD is getting the adjuster to take your case seriously. Insurance companies routinely try to dismiss parking lot crashes. They often claim the speeds involved were insufficient to cause injuries, particularly serious outcomes like traumatic brain injuries.
In reality, parking lot accidents can cause horrendous injuries, particularly to older people and children. In June 2019, for instance, a 67-year-old woman was killed in the Target parking lot in Owings Mills, Baltimore when a driver crashed into her car as she was standing next to it and it hit her.
Insurance companies do cover parking lot accidents in MD. Always persevere with a claim when another driver hurt you or left your car mangled. An insurance company will typically take your claim more seriously if a Baltimore car accident lawyer is involved. In some cases, we will have to escalate the claim by filing a lawsuit.
What Happens When a Hit-and-Run Driver Damages Your Car?
It’s very common for drivers to hit your unattended car in parking lots and to drive off without leaving a note. You might be able to trace the driver who left the scene and left your car damaged. If not you can use uninsured motorist coverage to claim on your insurance policy for the damage to your car. Even minor scrapes can cost you hundreds of dollars in bodywork.
The uninsured motorist property damage coverage is subject to a $250 deductible under state law. However, repairs from a parking lot accident usually run into thousands of dollars.
Talk to a Lawyer About Parking Lot Accidents in MD
Don’t let the insurance company talk its way out of a claim for a parking lot accident in MD. Many people suffer broken bones or worse when they are hit in parking lots. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we take all accidents seriously. Our Maryland personal injury attorneys will meet you as soon as possible and assess the strength of your case. When we take on a case, we deal with the insurance company on your behalf, allowing you to concentrate on healing. Please contact our car accident injury team at (410) 431-0911.