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Nationwide, 1 out of every 5 car crashes happens in a parking lot.” – Ramiro Rodriguez
When I was 19 years old, my most prized possession was my 1978 Ford F-150 pickup. I thought that green truck was the greatest vehicle ever. I took care of it meticulously, cleaned it, protected the seats from spills, and drove it through the carwash when it needed a bath. Keeping the truck in perfect shape meant a lot to me — so, of course, I was upset when another driver crashed into it!
The collision happened in a store parking lot in my home state, Texas. I was just pulling out of my spot when another vehicle sped across several parking spaces and slammed into me. Luckily, I was okay, and I was sure the other driver would be at fault. After all, they weren’t even using a lane. They’d crossed through parking spaces and hit me along the way.
I was a brand-new driver without any car crash experience, so I turned to my insurance company for help. They told me both of us were at fault for the collision, and we’d each have to cover our own repairs. I couldn’t believe it!
This memory came back to me recently when our firm took on a number of parking lot crash cases. In retrospect, I really should have hired a lawyer when I was 19. I didn’t know it, but I had certain rights and rules on my side that my insurance company never told me about.
Nationwide, 1 out of every 5 car crashes happens in a parking lot. Here in Georgia, there are a couple ways to determine who is at fault in a parking lot crash. For example, if you’re parked and the other vehicle is moving when you collide, the other person is probably at fault. If you’re both moving, the person who has the right-of-way is usually the victim and the other person is at fault. Things can get more complicated if someone is driving distracted or if the parking lot is private property, but overall, the guidelines are pretty simple.
Texas has similar rules, and in hindsight, I’m sure that if I had a lawyer at 19, they could easily have proved I wasn’t at fault! That experience made it obvious that insurance companies can’t be trusted. These days, I always advise people in parking lot collisions to hire a lawyer, even if the crash doesn’t seem like a big deal.
The truth is that simple fender-benders can still cause thousands of dollars in vehicle damage. You can also be injured in a parking lot crash, even if it happens at just 10–15 miles per hour. The risks are greatest for pedestrians, who are regularly killed in parking lot crashes, but your car won’t necessarily protect you completely. I’ve seen slow-motion collisions cause all kinds of problems, including concussions, back injuries, and whiplash.
Luckily, I came out of my crash at 19 without injuries, but the damage to my car was a hassle to fix and an expense I shouldn’t have needed to worry about. If you, a family member, or a friend is in a parking lot crash here in Marietta this fall, don’t make the same mistake I did — instead of trusting your insurance company, hire a lawyer like me!