Parking lots and garages can quickly turn dangerous. We’ve all experienced the tight turns, rushed drivers, distracted pedestrians, and other hazards that are commonplace in these settings. While parking lot fender benders may seem minor, they can easily cause serious injuries – especially when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian.
If you or a loved one were injured in a parking lot accident in San Diego, you likely have many questions about what to do next. Should you seek medical treatment? Report the accident? File an insurance claim? Accept a settlement?
An experienced parking lot collision attorney can help guide you through these critical next steps to get the maximum compensation you deserve. At Pasternack Injury Law Group, we know how devastating these accidents can be, and we’re committed to helping victims recover physically, emotionally, and financially.
Common Causes of Parking Lot Collisions
Parking lots contain a perfect storm of hazards that contribute to accidents. Drivers are often in a rush, distracted, or even impaired. Poorly designed and maintained lots create additional risks.
Some of the most common causes of parking lot crashes we see include:
- Vehicles speeding recklessly through the aisles trying to snag a coveted front-row spot or beat the traffic exiting the lot.
- Drivers negligently backing up without checking carefully for pedestrians walking behind them or other cars in their path.
- Distracted driving behaviors like texting, eating food, or chatting with passengers divert attention from navigating cautiously.
- Children playing unattended and darting unpredictably between parked cars.
- Impaired drivers under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other intoxicating substances.
- Faded lane dividers, potholes, and uneven pavement.
- Support columns, large vehicles, and other obstructions blocking sight lines and visibility.
Pedestrians also often contribute to accidents when they disregard walk/don’t walk signs, cross outside designated areas, or fail to watch for reversing vehicles before walking behind them.
With so many hazards present, it’s unfortunately inevitable that crashes will occur in parking lots and garages. But that does not mean the victims should be left to bear the expenses. Experienced attorneys can help recover damages.
Types of Injuries From Parking Lot Collisions
Even low-speed, minor parking lot accidents can inflict significant injuries, especially if vehicles strike pedestrians. Some common parking lot collision injuries we see include:
- Whiplash – from the head being sharply jerked back and forth, straining the neck muscles and ligaments
- Concussions – from a forceful blow or jolt to the head
- Broken bones – often in the extremities when a person is struck by a moving vehicle while walking through the lot
- Back and neck injuries – herniated discs, which occur due to the spine being subjected to sudden, jarring movements
- Internal organ damage – when a pedestrian is struck by a car
- Cuts and lacerations – from broken glass or metal
- Psychological trauma – anxiety, flashbacks, and other symptoms
The injuries incurred in parking lot accidents should never be minimized or dismissed as insignificant. Even those that seem relatively mild initially can have long-lasting and debilitating effects if left untreated. Soft tissue injuries to muscles and connective tissue can be excruciating and slow to heal. In severe cases, victims are left with permanent impairments. The out-of-pocket medical costs quickly add up, too. Victims deserve to be fully compensated for all of their losses.
Seeking Compensation for Parking Lot Collisions
In the aftermath of a parking lot accident, injured victims deserve to be made whole again. This means receiving compensation for all accident-related losses. To make a successful claim, it’s essential to take the proper legal steps from the start:
Documenting the Accident and Injuries
Properly documenting the accident scene and resulting injuries is vital to later proving the circumstances of the crash and successfully recovering damages. Here are some critical steps to take:
- Call the police to the scene and cooperate fully with the officer’s investigation in order to have an official accident report filed. This can carry significant weight.
- Take numerous photos documenting damage to vehicles and surrounding property, the positions of cars, the location of any skid marks on the pavement, blurred or faded lane divider lines, and any other physical evidence that could be relevant in determining fault.
- Get contact information and written statements from witnesses who saw the collision. Their accounts could help establish liability.
- Seek prompt medical evaluation after the accident and follow all doctor’s treatment orders. This documents injuries and prevents an insurer from claiming a gap in care. Save all receipts for treatment costs and prescriptions.
Thoroughly documenting the accident itself, as well as the resulting injuries and damages, creates a solid paper trail. This evidence will significantly bolster the case when demonstrating the circumstances of the crash, identifying liable parties, and proving losses for which the victim deserves compensation.
Successfully proving liability and attributing fault is crucial to recovering compensation after a parking lot collision. An experienced car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate liability using various evidence:
- Police reports can contain witness interviews and the officer’s determination of factors like speeding or intoxication that demonstrate a driver’s negligence.
- Witness statements help corroborate who was at fault, what maneuvers led to the collision, and other accident circumstances.
- If poor parking lot design or maintenance contributed to the crash, an experienced personal injury attorney can also build a solid case for negligence against the property owners.
- Medical records clearly tie the injured victim’s diagnosed conditions to the accident trauma, proving the extent of damages.
- Photographic evidence, skid mark measurements, and accident reconstruction can also demonstrate fault.
By gathering every applicable piece of evidence and conducting a fault analysis, a seasoned parking lot accident lawyer can craft a compelling argument attributing liability to the responsible parties. This provides the strongest foundation for recovering maximum compensation for the injured client.
When a parking lot collision results in injuries and property damage, various categories of damages can potentially be recovered through an insurance claim or lawsuit:
- Medical expenses – All bills for hospitalization, surgeries, medications, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, rehabilitative care, and other costs stemming from the accident injuries. Estimates of future medical needs can also be included.
- Lost income – Any wages lost if injuries prevented the victim from working for some time. Lost future earnings may also be claimed if disabilities will reduce long-term earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering – There are no fixed guidelines, but the more severe and lasting the injuries, the higher this portion of compensation typically is. Experienced lawyers negotiate skillfully for fair pain and suffering payouts.
- Property damage – Costs of repairing or replacing any vehicles or other property damaged in the collision, like eyeglasses, medical equipment, clothing, etc.
By thoroughly documenting each category of damages and creating detailed tallies, a parking lot accident lawyer can advocate effectively to seek fair and total compensation for the client through negotiated insurance settlements or jury awards at trial.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Some wonder if hiring a personal injury lawyer is really necessary after a parking lot crash. We believe having experienced legal representation is crucial. Here’s why:
- Establishing clear liability – Parking lots have many parties who could share fault, like negligent drivers, owners, maintenance crews, etc. Experienced attorneys know how to pinpoint breaches of duty.
- Maximizing compensation – Insurers won’t pay out more than they have to. But aggressively negotiating lawyers can push for a higher settlement.
- Dealing with insurance companies – Insurers protect their own financial interests first. Without a lawyer, accident victims may be manipulated into accepting less.
- Avoiding delays – Injury claims must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. Lawyers ensure deadlines aren’t missed.
- Building a strong claim – Investigating evidence, proving damages, and crafting persuasive arguments requires expertise. Parking lot injury lawyers have handled hundreds of these cases.
Having an accomplished parking lot accident attorney in your corner levels the playing field and gets you the maximum recovery possible.
Contact a San Diego Parking Lot Collision Lawyer Today
Dealing with the aftermath of a parking lot collision can feel daunting. You may face mounting medical bills, lost wages, costly car repair bills, and lasting injuries. The legal process seems confusing and risky. But with years of experience helping injury victims recover damages after all types of accidents, the dedicated attorneys at Pasternack Injury Law Group can guide you through this challenging time. As a family-owned firm, we treat each client like one of our own.
Contact us today for a free consultation with a parking lot accident lawyer in San Diego. We’ll evaluate your case at no cost, answer all your questions, and start building a strategy to get you maximum compensation. Reach out now to get started. The sooner we can get involved, the better. Let our parking lot accident attorneys shoulder this burden while you focus on healing.