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Who’s at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident in Columbia?

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Motor vehicle drivers often associate catastrophic car accidents with high-speed interstate roadways or bustling traffic intersections, but many damaging collisions actually occur in parking lots where one might expect other motorists to be proceeding slowly and cautiously.

When you need to know who’s at fault for a parking lot accident, your top priority should be to contact an accident lawyer who can advocate for your best interests every step of the way. The The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of determining fault after a car accident in a parking lot in South Carolina. Contact our Columbia auto accident attorney to discuss your parking lot crash.

Identifying Who’s at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident

In any form of motor vehicle accident, fault lies with the driver who was guilty of negligence at the time of the accident and failed to uphold their duty of care toward the law or to other persons nearby. In the case of a parking lot car accident, this might entail speeding through the lot or neglecting to yield at a stop sign.

Insurance investigators will likely examine any available surveillance footage, driver statements, witness testimony and photos of the resulting damage to gain more insight into the nature of the accident. These types of evidence can all be decisive in pointing to which individual was guilty of negligent actions that led to a collision.

In many clear-cut cases, it is possible to determine who’s at fault for a parking lot accident by who had the right-of-way at the time of the crash.

Parking Lot Right-of-Way Procedures in South Carolina

Understanding right-of-way in South Carolina parking lots requires knowledge of the relationship between access lanes and feeder lanes. Access lanes are the main traffic channels in a parking lot, usually circling around the perimeter of the lot. Feeder lanes are the channels going up and down the lot between rows of parking spaces.

Cars pulling out of their parking spaces must yield the right-of-way to vehicles already proceeding through the feeder lane. Drivers must also obey the traffic patterns of these feeder lanes, usually indicated by an arrow pointing up or down the lane. When exiting a feeder lane, it is necessary to yield the right-of-way to cars in the main access lane.

Vehicles in the access lane also have right-of-way procedures they must obey, as indicated by stop, yield or pedestrian crossing signs. A painted crosswalk also serves as a signal to yield right-of-way to pedestrians. Even in the absence of a traffic sign or crosswalk, there is an expectation for drivers to yield to pedestrians in a parking lot at all times.

Types of Parking Lot Car Accidents

Parking lot crash scenarios can be surprisingly complex, making it difficult to determine who’s at fault for a parking lot accident without examining the full details of the collision. To that end, it is necessary to understand the different types of parking lot car accidents and how the determination of fault may differ between them.

The major types of parking lot accidents include:

  • Pull-out crashes: This refers to a scenario in which a vehicle pulling out of its parking spot fails to yield the right-of-way to a car in the feeder lane and backs into it. Pull-out crashes can also include scenarios in which two cars from opposite rows pull out of their parking spots and into each other, possibly resulting in a parking lot accident for which there is no clear answer as to who’s at fault.
  • Head-on crashes: A head-on collision occurs when the front ends of two vehicles collide when traveling in opposite directions. This type of crash commonly occurs in parking lots when a vehicle proceeds the wrong way through a narrow feeder lane or when a vehicle exits a feeder lane without checking for oncoming traffic.
  • Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrian accidents are unfortunately common due to driver recklessness and the possibility for pedestrians to suddenly emerge from between parked vehicles in a lot. Pedestrian crashes can also occur when cars in an access lane fail to yield the right-of-way at traffic signs or crosswalks.

Avoiding fault in any type of parking lot accident is often a matter of proceeding slowly and thoughtfully while fully observing the traffic patterns of the lot.

The Role of an Attorney in a Parking Lot Accident

Your attorney takes a personal approach to investigating a parking lot crash on your behalf. While insurance adjusters have only the insurer’s best interests in mind, your accident lawyer can leverage their skills and experience to collect relevant evidence and present it in conjunction with a thoroughly formulated argument pointing at the other party’s fault.

Not only can your legal team help you understand who’s at fault for a parking lot accident, but they can also give you greater insight into the value of your accident claim, pursue all avenues for recovering damages and represent you both during negotiations with the insurance company and in the courtroom if necessary.

Get Support From a Columbia Parking Lot Accident Lawyer

When you suffer devastating damages and serious personal injury in a parking lot accident, it is crucial that you secure your rightful compensation from the individual at fault. We at The The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers can support you in proving who’s at fault for a parking lot accident and working toward the most favorable outcome possible. Contact us online or by calling 803-592-6231 today.

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