Most of us have been hit by someone in a parking lot at some time in our lives. These accidents usually cause scratches and dents. However, not all wrecks in parking lots are fender benders with property damage only.

Some people suffer serious injuries, even at low speeds. How to determine fault in parking lot accidents in Baltimore can be complicated.

A large number of cars moving in and out of parking lots makes them high-risk places for accidents. If you or a family member sustains an injury in a parking lot accident, you should seek the advice of a Baltimore personal injury lawyer.

In this article, Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains how liability is determined in a parking lot or parking garage collision in Maryland.

Most Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents in Baltimore

Some of the most common parking lot accidents involve two cars backing out at the same time, and hitting each other. Blame is often disputed in these cases.

Each driver may claim they looked back and saw no cars heading toward them in the parking lane and backed out. If the blame for a wreck cannot be established, drivers make claims on their own insurance policies.

Another common cause of a parking lot wrecks in Maryland is when a driver pulls out of a parking spot and reverses into a car in a passing lane.

The driver who is leaving the spot has a responsibility to yield the right of way to cars in the lanes. The driver who is backing out must wait until the lane is clear before moving out.

Many drivers become confused in parking lots. Collisions often occur in lanes because one driver is going in the wrong direction.

Another common parking lot accident scenario occurs when two drivers are trying to get into the same spot. The drivers may have a head-on collision or sideswipe each other.

Often the driver turning left across traffic is responsible for the wreck when two vehicles collide as they seek to get into the same parking space. These accidents are sometimes associated with ‘road rage’ when the drivers are trying to beat each other to the parking spot.

It is common for people to be injured in a pedestrian accident in parking lots. Crashes can cause serious injuries and even deaths. Children and older people are more likely to suffer life-threatening injuries in parking lot accidents in Baltimore.

Often shoppers or pedestrians are hit when by cars whose drivers are trying to back out. The driver must always be careful when reversing out of a space, making sure no pedestrians or other cars are approaching down the parking lane.

Rear-end accidents are among the most common kinds of collisions on the highway. They also occur in parking lots and parking garages. A car may suddenly stop at a stop sign or a pay station and the car behind hits it.

Common Injuries Suffered in Parking Lot Accidents

More people are killed and seriously injured in parking lots than people think. An article by EHS Today in 2016 suggested about 50,000 accidents happen every year in parking lots in the United States.

They result in more than 60,000 injuries, and 500 deaths. In January 2019, two people died in a parking lot accident in Baltimore. Police said the driver lost control of a pickup truck in the parking lot of the Mount Clare Junction Shopping Center. The driver crashed into a wall, killing two passengers. The force of the impact ejected them from the pickup.

The distracted driving epidemic has further fueled the number of parking lot accidents. The National Safety Council warns Black Friday and the holidays are particularly dangerous times. As many as two-thirds of drivers get distracted in parking lots.

The most common injuries sustained in parking lots are:

  • Neck Injuries – The neck is particularly sensitive to impacts, even at low speeds. People who are hit in parking lots can suffer herniated disks and whiplash injuries.
  • Broken Wrists – Many people who are hurt in car accidents suffer broken wrists because they put their hands out to break the anticipated impact.
  • Crush Injuries and Organ Damage – Pedestrians who are hit and run over in parking lots may suffer serious internal injuries
  • Brain InjuriesPedestrians are vulnerable to head injuries from striking their skulls on the hard surface of a parking lot during a crash.

Who is Liable in a Parking Lot or Parking Garage Accident?

Blame is not always straightforward in parking lot accidents. When two cars back into each other, both drivers may claim the other was to blame. When a driver is any degree to blame for an accident, he or she is barred from making a recovery.

When a driver hits a car driving down a lane when he is backing out, the reversing driver is typically to blame. This driver may be held liable for injuries to the other motorist.

If you hit a parked car, you are usually liable for damage or any injuries caused to the occupant.

Drivers who rear-end cars at a stop sign in a parking lot or a pay booth will typically be held liable for injuries and property damage they cause.

When two vehicles collide in a parking lot, a driver who is not following the traffic rules will often be found liable. This behavior may include driving against the directional arrows or across parking spaces.

A driver who hits a pedestrian in a parking lot may be held liable for injuries he or she causes. The behavior of the pedestrian is relevant, though.

A walker who is distracted by a cellphone and not paying attention may not be able to make a claim. If a child darts out suddenly in front of a car, the driver cannot be expected to stop in time.

Questions that Help Determine Fault in Parking Lot Accidents

The following questions are relevant in deciding who was to blame for a parking lot accident.

  1. Who had the right of way? When both vehicles were moving, the question of who had the right of way is relevant. Clearly marked out parking spots should have markings on the pavement, yield, and stop signs, and directional arrows. Lawyers investigating parking accident injuries will look at who had the right of way.
  2. Was your vehicle moving? If your car was stationary, the other driver was clearly at fault as long as you were legally parked in a garage or a parking lot.

How to Gather Evidence After a Parking Lot Collision in Baltimore, MD

Parking lots are often busy. This means there are likely to be plenty of witnesses to accidents. Talk to as many of them as possible. Always wait for a police officer to arrive and make a report or the police could charge you with hit-and-run.

The police may not respond to a parking lot accident unless serious injuries are reported. It’s always important to gather as much evidence as possible.

Take pictures and video from the scene. The positions of the cars are likely to be important in establishing liability. Many parking lots are monitored by closed-circuit cameras. If you hire our legal team, we will request this footage to form part of a case.

In some cases, a poorly maintained or marked parking lot may contribute to an accident. Drivers hurt in badly maintained parking areas may have grounds to bring a premises liability action against the landowner. Compile evidence of bad lighting, potholes, or poor marking if these problems contributed to an accident.

Talk to a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer for Your Parking Lot Accident Claim

Parking lot accidents in Baltimore and elsewhere in Maryland are very common forms of auto accidents. Although they are often fender benders, they can cause injuries.

Victims of parking lot accidents should consult a personal injury lawyer to find out if they have grounds to sue an at-fault driver.  Please call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice as soon as possible for a free and confidential consultation with a Maryland car accident lawyer at (410) 834-3859.