Car accidents in parking lots are fairly common because they’re so crowded. Someone can bump a door hard into a vehicle or back out into traffic and hit someone. These are still accidents you can file a claim for even though they’re low-speed and on private property.
Recovering compensation after an accident in a parking lot starts the same way as any other accident. Contact the police, exchange information with the other driver, see a doctor, and then contact our Phoenix car accident lawyers to handle the rest.
What’s Supposed to Happen After a Parking Lot Accident
Parking lot accidents are usually at slow speeds, but you should still go through the same steps as any car accident. Check that everyone is okay, report it to the police if required, and exchange contact and insurance information to make a claim.
After reporting the accident to the insurers, they will send adjusters out to investigate the claim, determine who is at fault, and how much you’ll get in compensation. If you have a car accident lawyer on your side, they can help prove you weren’t at fault and help you negotiate for more money.
Once the matter is settled or goes to court and gets decided, the winner recovers compensation for their parking lot car accident. However, there are certain situations in parking lot accidents that can complicate how your case goes.
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Must I Call the Police?
The other person in the accident may say that you don’t need to get the police involved. They may be right by Arizona law, but if you need to claim compensation later because an injury or a car problem develops later, it will be harder to win.
Arizona requires the police to report all auto accidents that involve injury, death, a citation for breaking the law, or property damage of $2,000 or more. If you don’t call the police and one of these is discovered later, then you could get accused of hit and run by not calling the police.
The drivers do not have to report the car accident to the DMV in Arizona, but if you are at all uncertain about whether your accident meets the standards for calling the police, call them. Without a report, you’re trusting the other driver will tell an accurate story to their insurer.
Parking Lot Security
If you’re in a large parking lot, you can also contact mall security to write up an incident report and give you a copy. You’ll still need to contact the police, but an incident report will give you more evidence for your claim.
If the parking lot owner refuses to turn over the incident report, we can subpoena the evidence from them. They may refuse to do it if it shows that the parking lot owner may share fault in the accident.
What Should I Do if I Hit a Parked Car?
You also have responsibilities if you hit a parked car and can’t find the owner. If you’re hurt, or you caused property damage, it’s best to call the police. They can use the plate number to find out who owns the car and get you the insurance information to make a claim.
If you don’t believe the damage is sufficient to need the police, you still need to leave contact and insurance information where the other driver can get it. Some people write a note and leave it under the windshield wiper, but this is risky. If the paper gets damaged or blows away, you could get charged with hit and run.
If you absolutely must leave a note and leave the scene, take a photo of the car with the note on it, along with a photo of the license plate. For more advice on what to do after hitting a parked car, contact Zanes Law for a free consultation.
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The Other Driver Fled the Parking Lot. How Do I Recover Compensation?
First, check for a note on your car with the contact information, then call the police. Even if the damage is minor, they may still accuse the other driver of hit and run. If they are, the odds of your success in recovering compensation will be higher.
Then, contact a car accident lawyer to help with your case. Many parking lots have cameras to catch crashes and other crimes. With the police report and your testimony, we can request the video footage and see if the crash happened on camera.
If the other driver gave no information, the police will search for the hit-and-run driver and pass on anything they learn to you and your lawyer. Remember that personal injury lawyers work on contingency, so they will also lend their efforts to the search once you hire one.
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Could the Parking Lot Owner Be at Fault?
Parking lot owners have a responsibility to keep their lots in good repair and free from trash. A big pothole could cause damage to your vehicle or even cause you injury. You can recover compensation for these parking lot accidents.
The police can help you find out who the responsible party is for the maintenance of the lot and get you their insurance information. Responsible property owners carry liability insurance for accidents on their property to pay for claims.
A visit with Zanes Law can tell you if the parking lot owner may be liable for your car damage and injuries. Contact our offices for a free consultation, and we’ll explain your legal options.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help
You can recover compensation after a car accident in a parking lot, just like any other car accident. If you have the insurance and contact information of the other driver, you can make a claim. If they didn’t leave it and fled the scene, you’ll have a harder path to compensation.
Contact the police and contact a personal injury lawyer if you don’t know who hit you. They will search for evidence to find the driver. Be sure to notify your insurance company that you were in an accident as well. They will also investigate, and you’ll need to tell them anyway, so they’ll cover you if the fleeing driver makes a claim later!