Key Points of This Article:
- According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 91,000 people will be injured annually in parking lot accidents, and 35% are nonoccupants.
- Parking lot accidents should be treated like any other car, truck, bicycle, or pedestrian accident when injuries are sustained, or property is damaged.
- Some people will suffer potentially serious injuries such as muscle strains and sprains, broken bones, whiplash, and concussions that could lead to traumatic brain injury.
- Michigan does have several laws and No-Fault benefits aimed to protect those injured in a crash, including pain and suffering compensation, as well as the damage to the vehicle or property.
Distracted Drivers Cause More Than Half of All Parking Lot Accidents
It may be hard to believe, but not all car accidents happen in the commuter cities of Metro Detroit, busy intersections near Ann Arbor, or on the always congested I-94. One in 5 car accidents occur in a parking lot, and more than half of the time is caused by drivers distracted by their cell phones or simply not treating a parking lot with the same rules as the road. Drivers involved in parking lot accidents also sometimes fail to look before pulling out or into spaces, race other drivers to get what they think is their best location, and often disregard signs telling them to slow down or traffic signals directing them to stop or yield to oncoming cars and pedestrians.
According to a 2020 National Safety Council poll, 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Respondents also said they would:
- Program GPS systems and in-vehicle technologies (63%)
- Text (56%)
- Use social media (52%)
- Send or receive emails (50%)
- Take photos or watch videos (49%)
Interestingly enough, teens were more likely to engage in personal grooming than adults while driving in parking lots but less likely to be on the phone.
Additional parking lot wrecks happen when:
- Two cars are backing up, someone (or both parties) is not looking, and they collide with each other.
- A driver pulls forward out of a space without seeking a safe route and instead jets out into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- Sometimes a driver will back out of a space and right into parking lot traffic.
- If two cars are competing and race to the same space and collide.
- Too often, a car will rear-end another driver in traffic or hit a pedestrian at a parking lot stop sign.
- Pedestrians face significant dangers when using crosswalks near store entrances and exits.
Drivers and pedestrians can suffer potentially serious injuries such as broken bones, muscle strains and sprains, and head injuries. Whiplash and concussion are injuries that seem to pop up a few days after being involved in a parking lot accident. Be sure to look out for symptoms like ongoing headache, blurry vision, and stiffness in your neck, upper back, and shoulders.
Understanding Right-of-Way Parking Lots Rules in Michigan
Parking lots are filled with all types of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even larger vehicles like semi-trucks and delivery vehicles at times. Especially near shopping centers, gas stations, sporting and entertainment venues, and office buildings, there are numerous lanes with cars parked on both sides, plus through routes around the lot’s perimeter, from which vehicles enter the parking lanes.
Stay alert and off your phone so you can use these tips to understand your right-of-way and learn how to identify cues from other motorists that they are getting ready to travel in your direction. You may need to stay put or cautiously get out of their way.
- Vehicles moving through lanes have the right of way, and drivers approaching the through lanes from the parking lanes must yield the right of way to drivers in the through lanes.
- If a driver pulls out into a through lane as he attempts to exit a parking lane and collides with a vehicle traveling through the route, the driver leaving the parking lane will probably be deemed at fault for the accident.
- If a driver in the through lane fails to obey a sign, that gives the right of way to vehicles exiting the parking lanes.
Even if a driver flags you to go ahead while waiting at a parking lot intersection or stop sign, but you are yielding to them, follow the traffic laws, and use your best judgment. Sometimes, even if they motion you through, it is best just to let them go ahead of you to avoid any aggressive behaviors and confusion that may result in a parking lot accident.
Parking Lot Accident Laws and Michigan No-Fault Benefits
While there is no single law that applies to all types of parking lot accidents, understanding which rules and how insurance coverage will work may vary according to the circumstances surrounding the crash. Things to consider might be the weather, timing, parties involved, if any security cameras or witnesses caught the crash, and the extent of injuries or property damage.
If you’re in a Michigan parking lot accident and you do know who struck your vehicle, you should first assess whether anyone is injured and, if so, contact emergency responders. Next, call law enforcement to file an accident report and take photos of your vehicle’s damage while you wait for them to arrive. If the other drivers involved are hostile, stay in your car and avoid engaging with them. Altercations and aggressive acts could ruin your chances of compensation.
Parking lot accidents should be treated as any other type of collision. And as in any accident, you will need to provide evidence to help determine who is at fault in a Michigan parking lot. After the accident, be sure you seek a medical evaluation at an urgent care or an emergency room. Always follow up with your physician to ensure your injuries are being treated.
Michigan law provides No-Fault benefits to help pay medical bills, lost wages, damage repair costs as well as pain and suffering compensation up to the driver’s liability policy limit. When it comes to property damage, the at-fault driver’s property insurance or even your collision coverage may cover the costs to repair the damage to your vehicle.
Michigan Parking Lot Crash and Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
Always consult with an attorney before making a statement, accepting a settlement, or admitting liability for a parking lot accident, so you can get the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Michigan traffic crash, call the car accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for your free legal consultation.
Also read: Michigan Rear-End Car Accidents Lawyers