Southern California is a car lover’s paradise; people drive nearly everywhere. However, where there are cars there must be places to park them – overwhelmingly, these places are parking lots. These can be treacherous places for drivers; multi-level structures, vast shopping center parking lots, or even cramped areas with little navigation room all present challenges to avoid striking another vehicle or being struck. The challenges only grow knowing many drivers in these lots are confused or just plain inattentive to their surroundings due to distraction or searching for a space. Unfortunately, these accidents can do a great deal of damage to occupants of any vehicle as well as any pedestrian involved. If you were injured in a parking lot accident, contact a Menifee parking lot accident attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
Menifee’s Parking Lots
Menifee is rapidly growing, and its 93,000 population is projected to continue growing past 100,000 by 2021. In addition to office parks for workers, supermarkets, restaurants, and public services like hospitals, the area is full of massive shopping centers like Menifee Town Center and Menifee Countryside Marketplace, parks, a golf course, and attractions like DropZone. All these establishments need places for their patrons and employees to park, so expansive, crowded parking lots are a common sight in town. Though they allow a high volume of people to visit these places and help facilitate business in Menifee, they also provide an extensive number of places for inattentive, confused, or just plain bad drivers to become involved in injury-causing accidents.
Who’s at Fault for Parking Lot Accidents?
The first step before filing a personal injury claim or third-party insurance claim is determining who’s responsible for the accident. Sometimes it’s fairly easy to tell the likely culprit – for example, a driver was clearly intoxicated, failed to yield, or was obviously distracted. However, in Menifee as with the rest of California, there are a few common situations that arise when determining fault.
- Speeding – though there usually aren’t posted speed limits in parking lots, California law considers parking lot driving in a way that disregards others’ safety reckless driving. The presumed speed limit in alleys and parking lots is 15 mph.
- Wrong way – If a parking lot has designated one-way lanes, disregarding the signage and causing an accident is likely negligent.
- Distraction – distracted pedestrians stepping into an oncoming vehicle’s path, as well as driver distraction through cell phone use or other inattention, are likely at-fault behaviors.
- Failing to obey stop signs, crosswalks, or any yield signs – the rules of the road apply in parking lots just the same as California’s other roadways.
- Rear-end accidents – another vehicle stops short and is rear-ended by a driver following too closely or driving too fast who cannot stop.
- Exiting a parking space – a driver leaving a parking spot must use extreme caution; cars, pedestrians, and runaway object like shopping carts often appear suddenly and can come from any direction. The driver must look carefully before pulling out of a space. The car leaving a space is almost always at fault.
- Turning into another vehicle’s path – drivers hurrying to take an available space may not check for oncoming vehicles and be struck when making a sudden turn. Depending on the facts, either driver may be responsible.
Parking Lot Accident Injuries
It’s important to realize that parking lot accidents are deceptive – they’re low-speed collisions, but they may still inflict serious, very costly injuries to any occupant of the vehicles. Common injuries include:
- Whiplash – this soft tissue injury results when the impact of the crash snaps the neck back and forth unnaturally in a motion like cracking a whip
- Airbag-created trauma – if a vehicle’s airbag deploys, the force can cause facial fractures, abrasions, eye injuries, and burns to the chest, upper body, and face
- Lower extremity and back injuries to a struck pedestrian
- Strains and sprains
- Lacerations and scrapes
Even though you may feel fine after a low speed collision, it’s still important to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. An adrenaline rush from the crash can cause victims to overlook symptoms of injury, and some injuries have symptoms that wait days or even weeks to present after they occur. A medical examination will allow you to establish a timeline for any injuries that arise and link them to the crash.
Compensation for Your Injuries
No one likes being hurt, so it’s understandable you want to recover for the harms you’ve suffered. If you prove someone’s negligence caused the parking lot accident and your physical, mental, emotional, and/or financial injuries, you may have the right to compensation for:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Funeral expenses or burial costs,
- Loss of consortium (companionship),
- Pain and suffering,
- Lost wages and Loss of future earning capacity,
- Disability, and
- Scarring or Disfigurement.
In some situations, injury victims may be eligible to receive additional punitive damages to punish a defendant’s extremely bad behavior rather than simply compensate them for the harm they’ve suffered. The difficulty of successfully arguing for these discretionary damages is best tackled by a skilled Menifee attorney with personal injury experience.
Speak With an Attorney
If you were injured in a parking lot crash, you understand the headaches of recovering from injuries, dealing with insurance companies, and figuring out who is to blame. Speak to the Menifee parking lot accident attorneys at Walton Law, APC as soon as possible. Our attorneys have years of experience representing victims like you and recovered millions for our clients through comprehensive, knowledgeable representation. We know the slightly different rules of the road in parking lots can potentially confuse fault and liability determinations but understand how that may affect your claim and how best to proceed. Contact us 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our Contact Us webpage to set up a risk-free, no obligation case review. The initial consultation is free and confidential, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let us review your situation and give you peace of mind while we fight for the best possible outcome in your case.