St. Louis Parking Lot Accident Lawyers
There are many packed parking lots in St. Louis, with residents and tourists flocking to the local supermarkets like Global Foods Market and Straub’s, restaurants like The Crossing and 360 Rooftop Bar, malls like Saint Louis Galleria, entertainment and sporting venues like Busch Stadium, and area attractions like The Gateway Arch and St. Louis Zoo. When visiting downtown St. Louis, not only do you have your choice of multiple parking lots like Citi Park but there are also several multi-level garages, including Kiel Center Garage, Parkside Garage, Stadium West and East Garages, Kiener West and East Garages, 7th and 9th Street Garages, Red Lion Garage, and Park Pacific Parking Garage.
Pedestrians, shopping carts, and vehicles move in all directions in parking lots, making it difficult to determine the person at fault if an accident occurs since the right of way is not always clear.
Admittedly, most accidents happening in parking lots take place at low speeds. Accordingly, a collision between two vehicles is not likely to cause grave injuries due to the reduced speeds or lack of movement from one vehicle or object altogether. However, when pedestrians are involved, a common occurrence at busy parking lots, the accidents can be more serious and the injuries more severe.
As they settle in their cars and prepare to pull out on the busy roadways, drivers are likely to be distracted by varying factors in parking lots, including:
- Noisy children
- Texting or sending emails on their cell phones
- Programming GPS systems
- Taking photos or using social media
- Engaging in personal grooming
- Prioritizing stressful errands
According to the National Safety Council, 20% of accidents (or one out of five) happen in a parking lot. While parking lot accidents are not entirely different from other types of car accidents, there are a few distinctions.
If you hit, scrape, or damage a car in a parking lot—or if you’re the victim of a parking lot accident as a pedestrian or other driver—don’t panic. The St. Louis car accident lawyers at NST Law can help you pursue fair compensation to cover your damages. We have decades of experience investigating accidents, identifying potentially liable parties, and negotiating settlements. We provide free initial consultations to review the specific facts of your case and determine your claim’s worth.
Parking Lots Are Private Property
From a legal standpoint, parking lots are typically privately owned by businesses or other entities. Still, they can be particularly dangerous areas to drive or stroll through. You always have a duty to drive safely and follow the rules specific to parking lots. Even when you’re off the roadways and operating your vehicle in a parking lot, there are laws that govern your transport. It’s also a good idea to use awareness, patience, and proper judgment as a pedestrian crossing a parking lot. Regardless, if you’re involved in a parking lot accident and sustain injuries or damages, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney.
Additionally, hit-and-run accidents can happen in parking lots, especially if someone hits a parked vehicle without a driver or a pedestrian. Take the same steps you would after suffering a car accident on a public roadway, including reporting the incident to law enforcement and your insurer and obtaining contact information from any available witnesses.
You might also need to report the event to the parking lot owner. Sometimes, it’s possible to sue the lot owner if a parking lot accident occurs due to poor safety conditions.
Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Accident
It can be more challenging to determine fault in a parking lot accident than ordinary roadway accidents. If you’re in a parking lot and an accident occurs, both parties may share some degree of responsibility for the incident. Sometimes, it can be difficult to pinpoint who was at fault due to the complexities inherent in parking lot accidents.
When working with a personal injury lawyer to determine fault in a parking lot accident, consider the following contributing factors:
- A driver may be found at fault if they rear-end another vehicle.
- A driver may be liable if they fail to yield the right of way when leaving a parking space.
- Negligent or reckless actions can lead to guilt on both sides.
- If a vehicle has mostly exited a parking space when another vehicle strikes it, the vehicle traveling through the parking lot might be at fault.
- A car that hits another while making a left turn into a parking space is generally at fault.
- A driver who violates a yield or stop sign typically bears the fault. Traffic rules and signs equally apply in parking lots.
- If two cars backing out of opposing parking spaces collide, both will generally be at fault. Each one has the responsibility to look for objects behind them and not back out until it’s clear and safe to do so.
- A driver can be found negligent even with the right of way. Distracted and drunk driving are instances where the offending party can carry the majority responsibility for a parking lot accident.
Of course, mitigating factors can ultimately affect a determination of guilt. For instance, a speeding driver will likely be considered partly or wholly at fault, even with the right of way.
Parking Lot Pedestrian Accidents
It’s ideal for drivers to remain attentive in parking lots to avoid accidents. The driver has an obligation by law to drive carefully not only on the road but in parking lots, staying alert for pedestrians who are sometimes difficult to spot due to the low vantage point at which they’re often standing. Child safety, specifically, should be cautiously observed because of the height disparity.
Most accidents involving pedestrians occur because the driver didn’t follow proper safety procedures, and often the pedestrian is at a much higher risk of severe injuries. However, it’s easy to assign fault in a parking lot accident to both drivers and pedestrians. Therefore, both parties must be aware of their surroundings to avoid accidents when navigating hectic parking lots.
In December 2020, a man died from his injuries sustained in a suburban St. Louis parking lot in Fenton at a strip mall when a car struck him. In another parking lot incident in August 2020, one person died and two people suffered injuries in a downtown St. Louis parking garage at 1000 Spruce Street. All three people aged 14, 17, and 26, were passengers in an SUV driven by an 18-year-old woman. They were hanging out of the vehicle’s sunroof when it hit a concrete support beam. The driver fled the scene.
Tips To Avoid Parking Lot Accidents
Tips for maneuvering your vehicle or walking through a parking lot safely to avoid accidents include:
- Correctly setting side mirrors to cover your blind spots
- Using car radar detection, if available
- Slowing down and remaining alert and cautious
- Using technology, such as rear-view cameras
- Using parking assist
- Parking in spots that are easy to get in and out of
- Parking away from other cars
- Watching out for oddly-parked cars and stray shopping carts
How can a personal injury attorney at NST Law help me if I was involved in a parking lot accident?
NST Law has helped clients recover total payouts exceeding $1.5 billion in various personal injury lawsuits. After a parking lot accident, we can help you by:
- Reviewing your case and determining its worth and who’s at fault.
- Helping you gather information and evidence to file an insurance claim.
- Explaining comparative fault and how it can affect your claim if you share responsibility for the accident.
- Communicating with the insurance companies to negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries and damages.
- Representing you in a civil lawsuit if you need to go to court.
If you’ve been involved in a St. Louis parking lot accident, our car accident lawyers at NST Law can help you obtain just compensation. Your St. Louis personal injury lawyer can ensure that your role in the accident is assessed fairly so that you get the payout you deserve.
We can help you navigate the complex legal process involving parking lot accident laws so that you can focus on your recovery. We evaluate each case individually, providing you with adequate attention to develop an effective strategy specific to the facts of your circumstance to derive the best possible outcome for each of our clients.
Contact our St. Louis office today for a free initial consultation.