Holiday Rush Can Cause Parking Lot Accidents—What to Do and How to Stay Safe
What to Do
You can and should call the police. However, a parking lot accident will not be treated like a typical investigation. When an accident occurs in a parking lot on private property, the police may refuse to come. Also, be aware that even if the police do come, they will not issue a citation to the at fault driver and most likely won’t complete a crash report.
Because of this, it is more important than in any other situation to preserve evidence showing what happened. What you do at the scene to document what happened will determine whether you will be able to hold the at fault party responsible. It is critical that you take the following steps to document evidence:
- Take photographs of all vehicles involved showing damage to the vehicles and the location of impact. Take the photos from many different angles if able to do so safely.
- Get the names, phone numbers and addresses of all witnesses who saw what happened. If possible, write down what the witnesses say they saw while it is fresh in their minds.
- Contact the store in front of which the collision took place to preserve any surveillance footage. Many stores have outside cameras, but they do not routinely keep the video unless a specific request is made. This could be the single most important piece of evidence to prove your case!
Tips for Staying Safe
Many accidents can be avoided if you take your time and follow these basic safety precautions:
- 25 percent of parking lot accidents are caused by vehicles backing up so be extra cautious while doing so and watch out for other backing cars.
- Don’t take short cuts and drive across parking lots-stay in designated lanes and follow directional arrows.
- Comply with all posted signs including stop signs and speed limit signs.
- Turn on headlights (even in daylight) to be more visible and reduce the risk of crashing.
- Try to shop early in the morning to beat the crowds.
- Buckle up. Accidents can happen anytime.
- Park in well-lit areas of the parking lot.
- Parking lot rules also apply to pedestrians-do not text while walking, make use of marked crosswalks when available, and watch out for backing vehicles
Contact Rinehardt Law Firm
If you are involved in a collision in a parking lot, contact Rinehardt Law Firm for a sample letter that you can send to the shopping center/store to put it on notice to retain the surveillance video.