Almost one out of every five car accidents in Michigan takes place in a parking lot. This might seem high, but when you take into account all the risk factors that a parking lot presents, it seems much more logical. A parking lot combines congestion, tight spaces, and inattentive drivers, and therefore a surprisingly high amount of accidents do take place there. An auto accident lawyer can be a valuable asset in helping you through the aftermath of an accident in a parking lot, but there are also steps you can take as soon as the accident happens to ensure a smooth road towards justice and compensation.
Hit and run accidents
Many accidents that occur in parking lots are hit and run accidents, which means you could come back to a damaged car and have no idea of whom to hold liable. In situations like this, the first step is to check your auto insurance policy and see if it covers any kind of collision damage. If it does, then you can easily make a claim with your auto insurance company without the worry of seeing your rates increase. This becomes slightly more difficult if your policy does not cover collision damage.
In this case, it is a smart idea to ask the store which owns the parking lot where this occurred to check their security camera footage of the parking lot. If the tape reveals the license plate number of the car that damaged yours, you may be eligible to file a mini tort. The purpose of this filing is to provide a person compensation for out-of-pocket expenses if they are involved in an accident that is not their fault.
When the driver can be identified
The protocol for when all relevant drivers can be identified in a parking lot accident is somewhat different from dealing with a hit and run. After making sure no one is injured or addressing any medical concerns that have arisen from the accident, it is crucial to document the accident as best, you can. This includes taking pictures of both cars, any injuries caused by the accident if this is applicable, and also making sure to note a great deal of information about each car involved.
You should be taking note of the exact location, time, and date of the accident. Write down the contact information (including names, phone numbers, addresses, and emails) for all other parties involved. Make sure to get the other party’s license plate number and driver’s license information. Pictures can help you denote the color, make, model, year, and any other important features of their vehicle as well. Lastly, do not forget to write down the other party’s insurance provider as well as their actual policy number.
No-Fault laws in Michigan
Michigan is one of the states in the U.S. that practices No-Fault law. This means that any injuries sustained in an event such as a parking lot accident are covered by your own insurance company. This extends to anywhere where you may be injured while operating a vehicle: if you are covered under your auto insurance, your injuries will be paid for by your insurance company.
However, there is a Michigan law called the parked vehicle exception. Essentially, if your vehicle was parked in an unsafe manner, if the injury happened because of any contact with mounted equipment while the mounted equipment was loading or unloading goods, or if the injury occurred while entering, leaving, or occupying the vehicle, this will be covered by No-Fault law.
How to prevent parking lot accidents
Many parking lot accidents can be prevented using a few simple solutions. It is important always to be alert when driving in parking lots and make sure you are driving slowly and cautiously as well. Even if it seems obvious where you are going, use your turn signals to indicate your turns to other drivers. Don’t try to fit into spaces too tight for your vehicle and take your time when backing out of spaces.