Despite not being a main road, parking lots have their own right-of-way rules, which drivers must abide by. If these rules are broken, then accidents can happen, and the driver may be found at fault.  In the back of our minds we all know this. Yet we see it time and time again: parking lot accidents across Southeastern Massachusetts are far too common.

Here are some tips to help you become a safer driver in parking lots and to avoid being at fault if an accident occurs. These tips can also help you determine if you have just cause for legal action following a parking lot accident you’ve been a part of.

Parking lots and driver fault – What you should know

Did you know that parking lots have two agreed-upon lanes: thoroughfares and feeder lanes.

Thoroughfares exit to the street. By design, they’re typically wider and serve as the main channels of the lot.

Feeder lanes tend to be smaller and begin and end at thoroughfares.

Drivers who are on a thoroughfare have the right-of-way over drivers coming from feeder lanes. In other words, if you’re in a feeder lane, you must stop for traffic in the thoroughfare before proceeding.

Who’s at fault if I’m pulling out of a parking space?

Think of parking spaces as your driveway. When pulling out of your driveway, you must yield to cars on the street. The same goes for parking lots. Cars pulling out of a space must yield to cars driving through the lane.

The most common parking lot accident that occurs in the Greater Fall River area is when a car in a space backs out and hits another car (whether that car is parked or moving). In this instance, the driver backing out of the space is nearly always found at fault, except in one case:

If two cars back out at the same time and strike each other, the fault is typically shared between both drivers.

Other instances when you’re at fault in a parking lot accident

Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that you’ll typically be found at fault anytime you strike a legally parked vehicle. This includes not only backing into a car, but something as simple as striking a car with your door. When you consider this, then it should become clear that if you choose to leave the parking lot after an incident, in Fall River, MA that very well could be considered hit-and-run.

Parking lot accidents in Massachusetts, and insurance companies

Inevitably, it’s up to the insurance companies to determine who’s at fault in a parking lot accident. Parking lots are subjected to what’s known as fault determination rules, which are predetermined guidelines that give adjusters the ability to quickly determine fault.

If you disagree with the insurance company’s findings, you always have the right to appeal. Enlisting the help of a Fall River personal injury lawyer, such as Steve Sabra, early in the process will increase your chances of protecting yourself and your assets.

Looking for legal representation in Fall River, MA?

Understanding the complexities of the law can be overwhelming. If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident, and aren’t sure who should be held responsible, contact Steven Sabra, a Fall River Personal Injury Attorney with more than 30 years experience representing people throughout the Fall River region. We work vigorously to achieve the maximum recovery for our clients.