When Car Accidents Happen in a California Parking Lot 

Not all car accidents happen at high speed. In fact, thousands and thousands of accidents happen in parking lots every year — most of which occur at very slow speeds.

That means that thousands of times every year, someone is left to deal with the fallout of a car accident in a parking lot. And there’s probably only one thing on their minds:

“Can I sue?”

There’s no definitive answer to that question that will apply to all situations. However, our Orange County car accident lawyer explains, this article is going to give you a good idea of what your legal options may be after a parking lot accident. 

And if you think you might need to sue for a parking lot crash, reach out to the qualified and experienced attorneys at Case Barnett Law. We’ll be happy to help you weigh your options and make your next move.

For now, read on to learn everything you need to know.

pedestrian close to getting hit by car in california

Yes, It Is Possible to Sue for a Parking Lot Accident

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, it is possible to sue for a car accident in a parking lot. 

Now, that doesn’t mean that all parking lot accidents will lead to a successful lawsuit. But some will. The key is knowing whether your case meets the basic criteria for a personal injury lawsuit

While there are many complicated factors to consider, ask yourself whether your case has the basic ingredients of a lawsuit:

  • You were injured (physically or psychologically).
  • Someone else was at fault for the accident.
  • That person was acting negligently.

This isn’t a perfect system, but if your case has those three basic traits, there’s a chance you may be able to sue for your parking lot crash.

Parking Lot Car Accidents Can Be Serious

Here’s one of the most common misconceptions about parking lot accidents: No one gets hurt.

That’s simply not true. 

Car accidents at very slow speeds can lead to physical injuries like whiplash (and others). And what about when a driver hits a pedestrian? In those cases, the results can be deadly.

So, don’t let the at-fault driver, their attorney, or the insurance company fool you: If you feel that your accident was serious, it probably was. And you can always get feedback from a trusted car accident attorney.

Common Types of Car Accidents in Parking Lots

There’s more than one type of parking lot wreck. In fact, there are several. And each can lead to injuries and lawsuits.

Here are a few of the most common types:

Pulling Out of the Parking Spot

It happens all the time: Someone backs out of their parking spot as another driver is cruising down the lane. A collision ensues.

Fault and liability can be really tricky in situations like this, but as a general rule, the driver cruising down the lane is going to have the right of way.

That means that the person who pulled out of the spot before the crash may be considered to be at fault.

Keep in mind that there are always exceptions, and many other details can complicate this relatively simple example. For instance, if the driver who was driving down the lane failed to stop at a stop sign right before the crash, they might be legally at fault.

Rear-Ended in a Parking Lot

Parking lots tend to be full of activity. And that means lots of starts and stops. When a driver behind you isn’t paying attention, they may not realize you’ve come to a stop and rear-end you.

Ouch. Rear-end accidents are a common cause of driver injuries. And whether you’re in a parking lot or on the interstate, this is the general rule of thumb: The rear driver is typically at fault.

Again, there are possible exceptions. That’s why it’s so important to speak to an attorney.

Left-Turn Accidents

Most of us have been in this situation:

You’re in a crowded parking lot searching for a spot. You see one on your right, but another driver is coming down the lane from the other direction. They speed up to try to steal your spot.

It can be infuriating. And in some cases, it can cause crashes. If the spot-stealing driver rapidly turns left in front of you, they can crash into your vehicle basically head-on.

And if they revved up in order to beat you to the spot, their speed might be fast enough to really do some damage — both to your body and your vehicle.

Obviously, fault can be a little difficult to determine in these situations. But an experienced attorney can help you sort out the details and make your case in an injury claim.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are one of the most common and most dangerous types of car accidents in parking lots. Without the external protection of a vehicle, walkers are at high risk of serious injuries when vehicles hit them.

In many cases, the driver will be at fault for a pedestrian accident in a parking lot. But not always. That’s why it’s often a good idea to consult a lawyer.

Compensation for a Parking Lot Crash

If it turns out that you can sue for your parking lot car accident, you’ll likely want to know what kind of compensation you might receive.

The basic idea is that you should be compensated for every way in which the accident has harmed you. Typically, that means you can seek compensation for the following types of damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages during your recovery
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Your attorney can help you assign an appropriate monetary value to each of the damages for which you are seeking compensation.

Injured in a Parking Lot? Help Is Available

Unfortunately, if you’ve had a car accident in a parking lot, you face an uphill battle. You need to recover, and if you want to sue, victory isn’t likely to come easily.

But that’s what personal injury lawyers are here for — to make victory more likely for injury victims. 

That’s certainly our goal at Case Barnett Law, and it shows in our successful track record and a long list of happy clients. 

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law