We all navigate the rules of the road every day, and we’ve driven so often that it might seem like second nature most of the time. No left turn on red, no passing in the right lane, no speeding above the posted speed limit – these are rules that most folks have memorized and ingrained into their driving style. However, in a parking lot, what would seem like common-sense rules can actually be much more complex.
When you picture an accident in a parking lot, you likely imagine someone scraping your car as they pull out or rear-ending your car when they fail to stop in time. Today, we’re going to explore three common scenarios for parking lot accidents where the party at fault isn’t readily obvious.
Scenario 1: Someone hits you as you’re pulling out of a parking spot.
You’ve stowed away your groceries, buckled your seatbelt, and you’re already thinking about what you’ll make for dinner when you get home. You begin pulling out of your parking spot, and wham – another car driving down the feeder lane crashes into the nose of your vehicle. Would you be at fault for the accident, even though it was the other driver who hit you?
The answer to this particular scenario is yes, you would be the one at fault, and we’ll explain why. In a parking lot, the vehicles driving in the feeder lanes (the lanes that allow you to enter and exit a parking space) have the right of way. If you want to avoid being held liable for this particular accident, it’s best practice to get in the habit of looking both ways before you exit your parking space.
Scenario 2: You’re turning into the main thoroughfare of the parking lot and get hit by someone else.
You’ve successfully navigated your way out of your parking spot, and you’ve driven down the feeder lane to the entrance to the main thoroughfare of the lot. It’s the way you’ll get back out to the traffic light, so you make your turn. Another driver slams into the side of your car – no one’s hurt, but your door is badly scraped up. Who’s at fault for the accident?
Again, the answer is that you’ll be the one held liable. In Scenario 1, the feeder lane vehicles had right of way over parked vehicles. By the same logic, the thoroughfare vehicles always have right of way over vehicles entering the lane. Wait for a gap in the traffic before you turn into the lane, and if someone is kind enough to let you in, make sure to give them a wave to say thank you.
Scenario 3: You’re getting out of your car and someone hits your open door.
You’ve turned off your car, and you’re getting settled in the parking lot. You put your keys in your pocket, check to make sure you have your wallet, and with one last glance to make sure your lights are off, you open your door to get out. Another driver crunches into it and rips it off the hinges. They hit it, sure, but are you the one at fault?
This is a tricky one, but the answer here is another yes. Generally speaking, if your car gets hit when you’re legally parked, it’s the fault of the other driver. However, in this scenario, you changed the dynamic by opening your door into their way when they were already pulling into the space, which means you would be the one at fault.
If you’re ever unsure as to whether or not you’re at fault or not, the Ontario Fault Determination Rules (FDR) have clearly illustrated and explained scenarios detailing which party would be responsible for different kinds of automotive accidents.
Navigate Any Scenario With the Right Car Insurance
The good news is that your automobile insurance company is on your side, and each unique situation will be evaluated according to the different factors that affected it. At Will Marshall Insurance Brokers, we’ll help you find the car insurance that perfectly suits your vehicle and your travel habits, and we’ll thoroughly review your policy to make sure you’ll have the coverage you need whenever you need it most. With automobile insurance, you can drive confidently with the knowledge that you and your vehicle will be protected in an accident.
From finding the right car insurance to making a claim, we’ll be with you every step of the way. If you’d like to learn more about finding automobile insurance through Will Marshall Insurance Brokers, call our office at (705) 726-2551. You can also send us a message online.