A Longwood Car Accident Lawyer Explains Why
Around the holidays, as people rush out to buy gifts, goodies, and food for celebrations, the risk for serious parking lot car accidents skyrockets.
From now through New Years', it is important to stay alert, stay focused on the road or where you are walking, and be on the lookout for small children while maneuvering in a parking lot.
The risks posed by parking lots are especially pronounced in Florida, which has one of the highest pedestrian accident fatality rates in the country. Winter months and March (spring break) see the most parking lot and garage crashes.
Perhaps due to our steadily rising population or the ever-expanding shopping, eating, and entertainment options Florida offers; the state has focused on parking lot safety more than most. The Sunshine State has funded one of very few available parking lot safety studies and collects incident data.
Meanwhile, safety advocates are also sounding the alarm on parking lot accidents. The National Safety Council recently released a report that says distracted driving may be a major contributing factor in lots and garage crashes.
Florida Parking Lot Crash Data
A lot of people don't think of parking lots as dangerous places. They are surrounded by parked and slow-moving vehicles. The situation, however, is more threatening than it appears.
In 2020, for example, Florida parking lots were the site of:
- 26 fatal crashes
- 385 serious, incapacitating accidents
- 1,935 non-incapacitating, but still serious, injuries caused by car accidents
- Over 4,500 crashes that resulted in "possible" injury
People most likely to be involved in a parking lot crash are young (ages 15-24) or elderly (age 75 and up). The elderly are among the most vulnerable people in parking lots. A state study found that elderly people in parking lots are at a higher risk due to generally slower reaction times and speed of movement.
Common types of injuries parking lot accident victims suffer include:
- MSDs (musculoskeletal damage to soft tissues, tendons, ligaments, etc.)
- Head and neck injuries
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- SCIs (spinal cord injuries)
- Increased levels of anxiety, and possibly the development of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Common Accident Types
Parking lot accidents can happen in all kinds of locations including lots for business offices, fast food eateries, restaurants, unmarked lots, gas stations, retail shops, amusement parks, grocery stores, event venues, and commuting.
The most common types of parking lot accidents include:
- A driver backing up or pulling forward into another vehicle or pedestrian
- Unsafe left turns
- Unsafe right turns
- A driver cutting across spaces and not using the throughway
- A pedestrian or cyclist getting hit by a car (particularly when a driver is backing out of a parking space)
Florida Parking Lot Accident Fault
Factors likely to determine liability in a parking lot accident include vehicle motion (parked or moving), parking spot (was it legal?), and who had the right of way. Typically, the driver in the throughway has the right of way. Keep in mind that with regard to pedestrian accidents, motorists have a legal responsibility to watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
One of the biggest factors contributing to parking lot crashes, though, is distracted driving. As noted above, a National Safety Council survey found that drivers are comfortable with multi-tasking while driving in parking lots. Here's what respondents say they do while operating a vehicle in a parking lot:
- 66% say they make and receive phone calls while driving in parking lots
- 63% program their GPS
- 56% text
- 52% use social media
- 50% send or receive emails
- 49% take or watch videos
Parking Lot Crash Victim Rights
Whether you were injured in a crash that occurred in a parking lot, parking garage, or out on the street, you have rights, and an experienced car accident lawyer can protect those rights. Likewise, if you were injured in a slip, trip, and fall accident in a parking lot due to hazardous conditions (e.g, loose gravel, uneven pavement, poor lighting, slick surfaces, etc.), you have recourse through the civil justice system.
The key is to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and avoid missing certain legal deadlines.
If you're in Central Florida, contact The Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, PLLC to learn more about your legal rights and options. Our law firm has the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle every aspect of your claim and aggressively advocate for the compensation you're entitled to.
Discover what our law firm can do for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.