Many people feel that moving slowly while driving means that you naturally relax your awareness and do not pay close enough attention. According to CBS News, 1 in 5 accidents occurs in parking lots. In fact, 60,000 people are injured, and 500 people die in parking lots and garages every year. Not surprisingly so, these numbers tend to increase around holidays.
More cars in a small area, people walking, and children running means parking lots deserve our full attention. Parking lot accidents in Atlanta can involve parked cars, moving cars, shopping carts, strollers, and pedestrians.
Types of Parking Lot Accidents
There are 5 common types of parking lot accidents:
- Two drivers back into one another
- When a parked car is hit
- A driver is backing out of a parking spot and hits an oncoming car
- When a driver pulls forward through a parking space and hits an oncoming car
- When a driver is rear-ended at a stop sign
All of these accidents can lead to injuries.
The ramifications of parking lot accidents are more complex than most people realize. Low speeds and low impact can still cause pain and suffering. At the Georgia Trial Attorneys’ office, we have seen injuries such as whiplash, neck and back injuries, soft tissue injuries (such as strains and sprains), and concussions.
Cause of Parking Lot Accidents
What causes these accidents? We know that once people leave main roads, they tend to relax and let their guard down. But what does that mean? What are people doing that they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings? Cell phones are the number one distraction.
According to a National Safety Council poll, here is what people replied that they do while driving through a parking lot or parking garage:
- Making phone calls (66%)
- Program GPS systems (63%)
- Text (56%)
- Use social media (52%)
- Send or receive emails (50%)
- Take photos or watch videos (49%)
Also, teens are 59% more likely to engage in personal grooming than adults while driving through parking lots.
What To Do if You Are Involved in a Parking Lot Accident
If you are involved in a crash in a parking lot, stop and make sure there are no injuries. In the state of Georgia, if you hit a parked car and no one is inside, you are required to leave a note with your information – otherwise, if caught, you can face a misdemeanor. There are no minimum charges so that you may incur 0-12 months in jail, probation, or a fine from $0 – $1,000.
Should you contact the police? Short answer… Yes. Not all cities or counties will send an officer to you, but there are several reasons you should call the police to the scene of an accident, even one in a parking lot.
Create a record – if injuries occur a day or two after your accident, you want a police record created and establish that the accident did occur.
Not later charged – For injury or insurance reasons, the other driver may later call in the report. If you hit another car and called the police to report the accident, you are less likely to be subsequently charged with a hit and run.
Insurance reasons – sometimes insurance companies may not pay a claim without an accident report. Calling the police helps you prove that you attempted to file a report.
Under the influence – you most certainly want to call the police if you suspect the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if they are belligerent and you fear for your safety.
Often, insurance companies don’t want to pay for minor, unreported accidents. This is why it’s always best to speak with an Atlanta personal injury attorney before giving a statement to your insurance company.
Have you been involved in a parking lot accident in Atlanta?
Most parking lot accidents in Atlanta are preventable if each driver is alert and expects pedestrians to walk in front or behind your moving vehicle, children to dart in front of you, and cars to pull out unexpectedly. But accidents do happen, and when you are involved in one, you need someone on your side.
If you are ready to meet with an attorney, you can contact us and call 833-4TheWin and speak with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys from Georgia Trial Attorneys.