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Motorists, Pedestrians Face the Risk of Severe Injury in Parking Lots

A man pushes a shopping cart toward a vehicle in a parking lot while it's snowing.

A Toronto Car Accident Lawyer Discusses the Dangers

People frequently have a lot on their minds while holiday shopping, but getting into a serious car accident in a parking lot is usually not one of them.

Perhaps it should be. In Ontario, about 1 in 5 car accidents happen in a parking lot, according to ThinkInsure.

New research notes that thousands of serious and fatal crashes happen every year in parking lots and garages across the country. Around the holidays, when the ground is icy and there are more people rushing to get their shopping done, the risk of a bad parking lot accident increases.

Figuring out what to do after a parking lot accident is not the same as a crash on a public roadway. While extra complications are typically present, the process for crash victims seeking compensation is the same.

While you’re out shopping this holiday season, here is some information about parking lot risks and how to get around safely in a lot or parking garage.

Common Parking Lot Crash Factors

One of the biggest factors in parking lot accidents is distracted driving. Traveling at slower speeds and with an absence of regular traffic, drivers often fail to remain attentive, according to the results of a recent U.S. National Safety Council opinion poll.

The survey was conducted in the United States, but it can still shed some light on what’s happening here in Ontario and the rest of Canada. Survey respondents say they feel comfortable doing a bunch of distracting tasks while operating a motor vehicle in a parking lot, including:

  • 66% say they make phone calls
  • 63% say they program GPS systems
  • 56% send and/or read texts
  • 52% use social media
  • 50% send and/or receive emails
  • 49% take photos and/or watch videos

Who’s At-Fault in a Parking Lot Collision?

First and foremost, there are a lot of people who think motor vehicle crashes that occur in parking lots are always 50/50 in terms of fault. This is a myth. Although parking lot collisions happen on private property instead of a public street, many of the same rules of the road apply.

When determining fault in a parking lot accident, various factors are considered:

  • Vehicle action — Were the vehicles parked, stationary, or moving when the crash occurred?
  • Exiting — Vehicles leaving a parking spot should yield the right of way to drivers in the traffic lane.
  • Traffic signs — Even though they are on private property, it is important to follow traffic signs and directions. If a collision occurs, whether signs and directions were followed will be a consideration. Drivers should avoid cutting through parking lots and driving across parking spaces.
  • Doors — If a driver hits an open door of a parked car, the driver of the parked vehicle will most likely be at fault. If you open your door into another vehicle, you are most likely at fault.
  • Parking spot — If a vehicle is hit while parked in a legal spot, the person who hit the car is most likely liable. If the car was parked illegally, the owner of the struck vehicle may be at-fault.
  • Pedestrians — People on foot are rarely at fault in parking lot crashes. Drivers have a duty to look out for other motorists and pedestrians, and that includes people walking in a parking lot. Remember, when you’re on foot you have nothing to protect you if you get hit by a car.

If both vehicles are backing up at the time of the crash, the individual details of the case will be closely analyzed to determine fault.

Find Out How a Lawyer Can Help When You’re Injured

If you’re in the GTA and you were injured in a parking lot due to negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Whether you were injured in a car accident, hit by a car, or slipped and fell in a parking lot due to hazards on the premises, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.

At Smitiuch Injury Law, we know how to investigate accidents, gather and preserve evidence, build strong cases, and aggressively advocate for the compensation our clients deserve. You don’t need to go down this road alone. With our law firm in your corner, you can rest assured that we will look out for your best interests and fight for the best possible outcome of your case.

To find out how an experienced Toronto car accident lawyer can help with your potential legal case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Toronto, Simcoe, and Brantford—and we can also come to you.

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