Fault in Parking Lot Accidents: What Are the Rules?

Parking lot accidents occur every day. While most of these accidents are usually minor, they can still cause injuries and property damage. This is especially true if drivers are speeding through a parking lot or aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
If you are injured in a parking lot, you may wonder who is really at fault. After all, the rules of the road don’t apply in a parking lot, right? Maybe. A Los Angeles car accident attorney has the answers.

Do the Rules of the Road Apply in Parking Lots?

Technically, yes, the rules that you apply every day on the road are still in full force in a parking lot in California. That means that you should be obeying any posted traffic signs and traveling through rows, not over top of them.
Drivers often get confused about who has the right of way in a parking lot. The lane in which you are traveling will dictate who should yield to others. There are two types of paths in a parking lot.

  • Thoroughfares. These lanes exit to a street. They are often wider and have more traffic on them.
  • Feeder lanes. This area of the parking lot is usually within a row of parked cars. These lanes start and finish at the thoroughfare lanes.

Those in the thoroughfare lanes always have the right-of-way in a parking lot. That means that anyone coming from a row of parked cars should stop or at least yield to those in the more major lanes of traffic.
Any driver exiting a parking spot should also yield to those in the feeder lanes. Those exiting a parking spot never have the right-of-way against someone who is already traveling down a lane.
An insurance company will still assess fault in a parking lot accident just like they would in a regular crash that occurred on the street. They will take statements, determine where each car was located just before the crash, and consider other factors like speed and distraction.

What Should I Do After a Parking Lot Collision?

You should treat a parking lot accident just like any other collision. That means you should:

  • Stop at the scene to inspect your vehicle and ensure everyone is unharmed
  • Call the police to make a report
  • Get the name and address of the other person involved in the accident
  • Take photos of the property damage and location of the crash
  • Talk to any witnesses that may have seen the collision occur

If you are injured, be sure to visit your doctor for a once-over. Keep in mind that some minor injuries that occur in parking lot accidents may not appear for several hours or even days later. As soon as you realize you might be hurt, set up an appointment with your doctor or head to an urgent care facility.
It’s also a good idea to set up an appointment with a Los Angeles car accident attorney after this type of collision as well. The at-fault driver may be liable for your medical expenses and any other losses you have after the crash.


Find out if you have a case in a few minutes, call us at (310) 289-7126

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