As many as one in five auto accidents occur in Maryland’s parking lots. Most people have experienced a fender-bender when parking. Others suffer serious injuries. It’s important to know what to do if someone hits your car in a parking lot.
You should deal with a parking lot accident as you deal with a wreck on the highway. Try to keep a calm demeanor. Be methodical. Parking lots are fraught places and tempers often flare. Baltimore parking lot accident lawyer Randolph Rice looks at the steps to take after a parking lot accident.
Someone Hits Your Car in a Parking Lot
What to do if someone hits you in a parking lot in Maryland or elsewhere depends on the specific situation. The most common parking lot crash situations include the following:
Someone Hits Your Parked Car and Leaves a Note
Stationary cars are often dented or scratched by other vehicles in parking lots. Damage usually occurs when other cars are trying to get into a space and the driver misjudges the maneuver. Even if the damage is only a scratch, the driver who caused it should leave a note. Ideally, they should leave a contact number and details of their insurance company.
Call the number as soon as possible to get full details. Don’t assume the details are correct. Also, ask around for witnesses. The garage may have a cashier who saw the incident. If the parking lot was at an apartment complex, a resident may have witnessed it. Get quotes from body shops as soon as possible and contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make a claim. Always contact your own insurance company as soon as possible after a property-damage incident.
Someone Hit Your Car and Left the Scene
Hit-and-run accidents occur very regularly in parking lots. If a driver damages your car and leaves the scene, your options are more limited. Ask pedestrians, retailers or residents if they saw anything. Take photos of the damage or take videos from different angles. If the hit-and-run driver caused serious damage, file a police report. You should also ask the parking garage or lot owners about obtaining closed-circuit TV footage.
You can file a claim with your own insurance company for the damage and may be able to claim uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). If the damage is minor, it may not be worth making an insurance claim.
What Happens if You are Injured When Someone Hits your Car in an MD Parking Lot?
If someone hits and hurts you in a Maryland parking lot, seek medical help as soon as possible. Ask if your passengers if they feel any pain. Also, make sure to get the insurance and personal details of the driver who crashed into your car. Report any collisions with injuries to the police as soon as possible. It’s also important to get statements from witnesses to the accident. This is a lot to do in the aftermath of a wreck when you may feel shocked and hurt. Ideally, delegate some of these tasks to other people with you. For example, you could call 911 while your spouse gets recorded statements from witnesses on their smartphones.
If someone hits your car in a parking lot, you should also get pictures of the damage and where the vehicles involved in the accident ended up. It can often take an investigating officer some time to arrive. Always cooperate with the officer and answer questions truthfully. Don’t speculate and never make comments about how you could have acted differently to avoid a crash. Under Maryland law, you could be denied compensation for your injuries for any degree of fault.
Talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. Talking to a legal professional before you contact the other side’s insurance company makes a lot of sense. The attorney can advise you of the best strategy to protect yourself. The lawyer may also take on your case and deal with the insurance company on your behold, avoiding the legal pitfalls the insurer will set for you.
When you suffer an injury in a parking lot wreck, you should be aware the success of a claim depends on establishing the other driver’s fault. However, there are also some non-fault-based payments you can qualify for like Personal Injury Protection. The standard PIP coverage is up to $2,500. It can help you with immediate medical bills for your injuries.
How to You Find Fault in Parking Lot Accidents in Maryland?
Finding fault for Maryland parking lot accidents is challenging. If cars back into each other, the drivers usually blame each other. Maryland’s contributory negligence law may mean neither driver can claim compensation for injuries and property damage from the other. The way you act and what you say after a parking lot crash has a bearing on your future case. Talking to a lawyer in the aftermath of a wreck can bolster your case.
If you hit a parked car, you are usually liable for damage or any injuries caused to the car’s occupants. Drivers who rear-end others at stop signs or pay booths are usually held liable for injuries and property damage they cause. The rules of the parking garage are important in working out who is to blame. A driver going against the direction arrow or speeding is likely to be held liable. The rights of a pedestrian in a parking garage accident can depend on whether he or she was using painted crosswalks. A pedestrian who is clearly visible crossing a lot has greater rights than one who slips between parked cars unnoticed. Likewise, a walker on a cellphone will likely lose his or her rights to sue because of the distraction. If you are pedestrian in this case you should contact a Maryland pedestrian accident lawyer.
Ask a Baltimore Parking Injury Lawyer What Do You Do if Someone Hits your Car in a Parking Lot?
The rules of parking lots are different from those of the highway. Speed limits are lower and there are confusing features like ramps, barriers and toll kiosks. However, the steps you take after someone hits your car are similar. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Baltimore car accident lawyers won’t downplay your MD parking lot accident. We realize very serious injuries and even deaths occur even at low speeds in parking facilities. We will advise you of the best strategy for dealing with the insurance companies. Please call us at (410) 431-0911.