Parking Lot Accidents in Indiana: Determining Fault

Jan 30

If you get involved in a parking lot accident, it’s important to understand your rights as well as your “right-of-way.” Indiana is an at-fault or tort state. This means that if you’re negligent, you are responsible for paying for the other party’s repairs in a parking lot accident.

So, how do legal professionals determine responsibility? Read on, and seek a consultation with an Indiana car accident lawyer regarding your specific case. 

 

Examples of Parking Lot Accidents

Below are scenarios that are common examples of parking lot accidents.

  1. The driver backs out of a parking space, striking another car moving down the driving lane. If you’re exiting a parking spot, you must yield the right-of-way to both pedestrians and cars. In other words, if you’re parked, you can’t move your car until everything is clear or it’s safe to do so. If you do strike a person or car, you’re likely to be considered at fault.
  2. The driver pulls forward from a parking space and collides with another auto. In this case, they’ll likely be held liable. The other driver most likely had the right-of-way in this situation.
  3. Two drivers back out of parking spaces simultaneously and crash into each other. Both drivers would likely be assigned a percentage of the fault.
  4. A driver unexpectedly and suddenly turns out in front of an oncoming vehicle rushing to snag a parking space. For example, they may turn left in front of an auto to grab a coveted parking spot. As a result, they’re hit, but will likely be considered at fault.
  5. A driver rear-ends another motorist. When navigating a parking lot, you’re responsible for maintaining the proper distance at a safe speed. If you don’t keep adequate control of your car and hit another car’s rear end, you may be liable.

 

Underinsured and Uninsured At-Fault Parties

In Indiana, car owners automatically have uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. If someone does not want that coverage, they have to reject the insurance in writing.

The insurance is used to cover you if you’re hit by someone who is uninsured or underinsured. While you can reject the coverage, you never should do so. The cost of the coverage is negligible and the protection is invaluable, especially given the significant number of drivers who either have no or too little insurance coverage.

 

State Liability Minimum Insurance Requirements

Minimum liability insurance requirements  in the Hoosier State are:

  • Property damage – $25,000
  • Uninsured motorist (per person) – $25,000
  • Uninsured motorist (per accident)- $50,000
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage – $50,000

If the at-fault driver in a parking lot accident is uninsured or underinsured, you might also be able to file a claim against your own policy up to the limits of coverage. You can, and should, always purchase coverage above the state minimum.

 

Do You Have to Report a Parking Lot Accident to the Police?

The law in Indiana requires that drivers report any accident when there is an injury, death, or property damage that is over $1,000. If someone is injured in a car accident, you’re required to call 9-1-1 and report the incident to the police so medical personnel can treat the injured parties.

If no one was injured in a low-speed accident and the damage is minimal (just a few scratches), you might be able to bypass this requirement. Some police departments may not send an officer in these instances.

Whether you are hit in a parking lot or slip and fall, you may have a personal injury claim to submit. Speak to a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights in this respect. If the parking lot is unsafe, icy, or not properly maintained, the parking lot owner may have to share in the blame as well.

If you have been injured and the other party is at fault, discuss your case immediately with a professional and recognized car accident lawyer.

 

Common Reasons for Parking Lot Accidents

Common reasons for parking lot accidents include the following:

 

Distracted Driving

It’s easy to become distracted when searching for a spot or loading your car. Put the phone away, turn down the radio, and focus on your surroundings. One moment of distraction could lead to hitting another vehicle or pedestrian.

 

Speeding

Many drivers speed up and down aisles trying to find a space. However, parking lots have tight spaces, blind corners, and lots of foot traffic. Slow down and be ready to brake suddenly. Excessive speed endangers everyone.

 

Reversing Errors

Reversing into or out of space accounts for a large portion of accidents. Check behind you, use your mirrors, turn your body to look behind you, and, again, take it slow. Children or pets could be walking behind your auto. Wait until you have a clear path before hitting the gas.

 

Steps to Take After a Parking Lot Accident

After an accident in an Indiana parking lot, you’ll want to take action to protect yourself legally and financially.

 

Call the Police

As soon as possible after a collision, call 9-1-1 to report the incident to the police. An official police report will document the details of the accident. The report serves as a critical piece of information for insurance claims and reported injuries. Provide the location of the accident, if medical assistance is needed, and the details of the vehicles involved.

 

Exchange Information

Get the name, address, phone number, license number, make and model of each vehicle, insurance details, and any other relevant info from the other driver(s). Double-check that the information provided is accurate before leaving the scene. Take photos of the other driver, their driver’s license, their insurance information, and the vehicles involved if possible.

 

Notify Your Insurance Company

Call your auto insurance provider promptly to report the claim. Provide the details of the accident, including time/date, location, other vehicle info, and the police report number. 

Your insurance company will walk you through the next steps to get your vehicle repaired or schedule an inspection. Failing to report an accident to your insurance company in a timely manner could jeopardize your coverage.

 

Seek Medical Attention

Always get checked out by a doctor, especially if you experience injuries like whiplash, back/neck pain, or disorientation after an accident. Adrenaline can mask the severity of injuries, and some symptoms may appear for hours or days after a collision. 

Visit an urgent care center or emergency room and let the staff know you were in an auto accident. Do this even if you feel fine at the time. It’s better to be safe than sorry—your health should be the top priority. In addition, you may need the records as evidence if you file a personal injury lawsuit at a later date and time.

 

Speak to an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer Now

If you’ve been hit in an auto accident and need help with expenses, get legal help right away. In Indiana, contact Blackburn Romey, your go-to personal attorney.

 

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