Parking lot accidents often result in minor damage to vehicles, but they can also cause serious injuries and fatalities.

According to the University at Albany’s Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, there are several factors that make parking lots especially dangerous places for pedestrians. Pedestrians may be focused on carrying packages, maneuvering a cart, or attending to children, and drivers may be distracted, as they look for parking spaces. When drivers and pedestrians are both distracted, the odds of a pedestrian-vehicle crash increase.

Many large retail parking lots have very little in the way of traffic control aside from a few stop signs, and reckless drivers may exceed reasonable speeds or ignore established lanes as they cross parking lots, increasing the risk of a crash with other motorists. Crashes may also occur due to visibility problems, like when a driver backing out of a space fails to see an approaching car.

Some South Carolina drivers put pedestrians and other motorists at risk by being inattentive or careless in parking lots. If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident caused by someone else’s behavior, you may be entitled to compensation. Since 1959, the Louthian Law Firm has been helping injury victims in Columbia and throughout South Carolina. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 1-855-572-8201.

Determining Fault

When insurance companies investigate a parking lot accident between two or more vehicles, they will attempt to determine who was at fault for the crash. Because there are many ways vehicles may collide in a parking lot, determining fault isn’t always easy.

Cars traveling in the traffic lane have the right of way. If a car backs out of a space and into the path of a car in the traffic lane, the driver who backed out will generally be found to be at fault for a resulting crash. However, in that same scenario, an impaired or speeding driver in the traffic lane would likely be found at least partially responsible for the crash.

South Carolina law has a comparative negligence statute that permits people injured in an accident to sue other parties for damage, so long as the injured person’s share of the blame is not more than 50 percent. If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident, your right to compensation, as well as the amount of compensation you could receive, depend largely on the court’s assessment of who is at fault, and to what degree. Louthian Law Firm’s personal injury attorneys have helped many South Carolinians achieve favorable outcomes in such cases. Find out how we can help you. Call us toll free at (803) 454-1200.

Low-Speed Crash Injuries

Speeding is a factor in many serious and deadly crashes, especially on South Carolina highways. But even at low speeds, crashes can cause debilitating injuries.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report in 2011 called “Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death.” An analysis of four years of crash data showed that the risk of severe injury or death is affected not only by a vehicle’s speed, but by a passenger’s age, as well. For example, a 70-year-old pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph has a risk of injury or death similar to that of a 30-year-old pedestrian struck at 35 mph.

The report found pedestrians struck by light trucks had a higher risk for injury, compared to those struck by cars, and trucks were likely to cause more severe injuries than cars.

Nationwide, and in South Carolina, Ford F-Series pickups are among the most popular vehicles. These trucks and similar models from other manufacturers can weigh several tons, and their higher passenger compartments may create more rear blind zones. According to Consumer Reports, the blind zone behind a pickup truck is 24 feet to 35 feet, depending on the height of the driver. In a parking lot, pedestrians and vehicles that enter that blind zone could be at risk for injury, if a truck is backing out of a parking space.

Staying Safe

Stop signs, crosswalks, and speed bumps can help reduce the number of parking lot accidents, but drivers who fail to think about the safety of others will continue to be a threat to motorists and pedestrians.

If you’ve been injured in a vehicle or pedestrian collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, even if you were partially at fault. Don’t let an insurance company force you into accepting an unfair settlement. Find out how the accident attorneys at Louthian Law Firm can help you. Call us today at (803) 454-1200, or fill out our online form, to get your free consultation.