It’s hard to believe, but parking lot accidents are quite common in the Bay Area.
One study has found that nearly 20 percent of car accidents in the country occur in parking lots. These accidents commonly occur in the parking lot of shopping centers, big stores, and supermarkets.
Suppose you have been injured in a parking lot accident. In that case, you can sue the driver responsible for the accident to get compensation for the injuries. In this article, you will learn about the risks associated with parking lot injuries, how to get compensation, and other detailed matters regarding parking lot injury accident lawsuits in San Francisco.
Parking Lot Injury in San Francisco, California
A parking lot injury can occur due to rash or reckless driving by another driver. A driver can end up hitting you or your car in the parking lot, and the statistics back this statement. Moreover, you can also be assaulted at a parking lot. Also, there is a risk of trip and fall injuries in the parking lot as well.
In some cases, the parking lot owner is to blame for a parking lot accident. A parking lot owner has to care for pedestrians and car owners who park the car in the parking lot. Here are some of the reasons the owner can be held responsible for a parking lot injury.
A lot owner must ensure adequate security at the parking lot. The security measures that include installing CCTV cameras, proper lighting, and security guards are essential to protect the car owners’ property. The specific security options depending on the design and location of the parking lot.
Inadequate security may make the lot owner responsible if a person gets assaulted or the car is stolen by thieves in the parking lot. Adequate protection is significant if the lot is in enclosed spaces, such as those found inside the shopping mall or a garage.
Lack of Maintenance
The fences, handrails, stairs, walls, ceilings, and other parking lot parts should be reasonably maintained. Suppose a victim gets injured due to a lack of maintenance of the property. In that case, the lot owner will be held responsible for the losses.
Potholes or uneven surfaces represent a danger to pedestrians and car owners. Pedestrians can trip and fall if they don’t see the potholes. Moreover, the car tires can burst when driving through potholes. The parking lot owner will be held responsible for not repairing potholes and uneven surfaces that result in injury or car damage.
How to Get Compensation for a Parking Lot Accident?
Suppose you have sustained significant losses due to a parking lot accident. In that case, you can file a personal injury case against the guilty party. California law allows the victim to sue the guilty party for getting compensation for the losses.
Liability in case of a parking lot accident in California depends on who was at fault at the time of the accident. The court must show that the driver had a duty to care and neglected the duty when driving on the parking lot.
Duty of care in the context of car accident cases means that the driver had the legal obligation to avoid harming the pedestrians and other vehicles. The driver must be careful while observing safety rules. This includes driving slowly in the parking lot to avoid hitting another car or pedestrians. Moreover, they should have a complete focus on the road with no distractions. This means that they should not be texting, talking on the phone, eating, or interacting with family members while driving.
Failure to take due care when driving in the parking lot will make them liable for injuries. You can seek compensation from the guilty driver who did not take due care while going in the parking lot, resulting in an injury.
What Damages Can You Claim in Case of Parking Lot Accident?
The injured party can claim compensation for financial and non-financial damages due to a parking lot accident. Here are some of the types of damages you can claim in case of a parking lot accident injury.
1. Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages refer to the compensation awarded for physical or emotional injuries. There are two different types of compensatory damages.
A. Economic Damages
The court awards economic damages to compensate the victim for actual expenses incurred due to the negligent action. Also known as special damages, it is awarded to victims as a means of compensation for the following losses:
a. Medical expenses
Victims injured in a parking lot accident can claim compensation for medical costs incurred due to the injuries. It includes not just the current medical fees but also potential medical expenses for future care and rehabilitation.
Your injury lawyer can get the opinion of a medical expert in calculating future medical expenses. The estimate is based on the required ongoing medical costs and the life expectancy of the victim.
b. Loss of Income
An individual who cannot go to work due to an injury sustained in the parking lot can demand compensation for the loss of income. The compensation amount includes wages lost while recovering from the physical damage.
c. House Remodeling Expenses
A victim can become disabled due to an injury that occurred in the parking lot. Sometimes the disability requires the victim to remodel the house to accommodate for the disability. The victim may have to install a ramp for the wheelchair, elevator, or accessible cabinets. These costs can also be added to the compensation amount sought from the guilty party.
B. Non-economic Damages
Non-economic damages – also known as general damages – are awarded to the victim for physical and emotional pain sustained due to a bodily injury. A parking lot accident victim can seek compensation for the following non-economic damages from the guilty party.
- Emotional suffering
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Physical pain
2. Property Damages
Property damages refer to the expenses related to the loss of private property due to the guilty party’s negligent actions. If your car gets damaged due to an accident in the parking lot, you can sue the guilty party to compensate for the losses.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in a personal injury case. Also known as exemplary damage, these are not granted to compensate the victim. Instead, the damages are awarded to punish the guilty party and warn others about the consequences of engaging in similar behavior.
A court could award punitive damages if the victim acted in an egregiously reckless and insidious manner. The damages are awarded if the evidence shows that the guilty party had flagrantly ignored the laws or enacted revenge against the victim.
What Should You Do After a Parking Lot Accident Injury?
You need to take specific steps soon after getting injured in a parking lot. This is important to ensure that the guilty party is held responsible for the accident. Here is a rundown of what you need to do after a parking lot accident.
1. Report the Accident
The first thing you need to do after getting injured in a parking lot accident is to call the police. You should report the accident to the police. Filling a report will create a legal trail of the accident.
The police report will serve as official evidence about the accident in court. This report contains information about the injured person as well as the guilty party. The report also includes a probable explanation about the cause of the accident. It can help in proving the guilt of the party responsible for the parking lot accident.
2. Take Photos
You must also take photos of the car accident scene with your smartphone. Consider taking pictures of the car’s license plate number and the damages sustained in the accident.
The documentary evidence will work in your favor in the court when you file a lawsuit against the driver responsible for the parking lot injury. The photos can be presented in court to prove the guilt of the driver.
3. Get Contact Details of Witnesses
You must also note down the witnesses’ names and contact details at the scene of the accident. Eye witness accounts will help in proving who was responsible for the accident. You can also record a video of the witnesses describing the accident scene.
4. Get Immediate Medical Attention
Suppose you have sustained a bodily injury due to a parking lot accident. In that case, you need to contact the nearest medical center for a detailed checkup.
You must get a checkup even if you have not been seriously injured. The reason behind that is some injuries do not become apparent right after the accident. Even minor car accident collisions in the parking lot can result in serious injuries, including brain damage and spinal cord injuries.
Getting immediate medical attention is essential. Suppose you don’t contact a doctor soon after the accident. In that case, the defense team can claim that your delayed action was to blame for the seriousness of an injury. This will negatively affect your case in a parking lot accident lawsuit.
How Is Liability for a Parking Lot Injury Determined in California?
In states with contributory negligence laws, an injured party cannot claim any compensation if partially responsible for the accident. In contract, the injured person can claim compensation from the guilty party even if partly responsible in states with comparative negligence laws.
California has comparative negligence laws that mean you can claim compensation even if you are somehow to blame for the parking lot injury. Liability will be determined by the percentage of a party is responsible for the accident. For instance, suppose the court found that you were 20 percent responsible for an accident. If the final award is $400,000, you will receive 20 percent of the payout, i.e., $320,000.
In case both parties are found to be equally responsible for an accident, the compensation amount will be split on a 50/50 basis. You will receive about half of the claim from the guilty party. It could happen if both parties made a mistake, such as driving in a distracted manner resulting in an accident.
When Should You File a Parking Injury Lawsuit in California?
Every state has set a time limit during which you can file a lawsuit against the guilty party. The time limit has been established since evidence can deteriorate after a particular period. This time limit during which you can file a lawsuit is known as the Statute of Limitation.
In California, the Statute of Limitation for personal injury cases, including parking lot injuries, is 2 years.
Remember that the statute of limitations starts from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered by a reasonable person. You need to file your case within the period; otherwise, you will lose the right to get compensation from the guilty party.
Get the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney in California
Parking lot cases can be complicated and confusing. You can hurt your case if you don’t know what evidence to collect and how to act after a parking lot injury accident.
You should talk to a personal injury attorney to seek compensation in a parking lot injury case is. An experienced attorney will collect all the evidence that points to the guilt of the at-fault party. The attorney will interview the witnesses, look at video footage, and review reports to determine the driver’s fault.
Getting the help of a qualified attorney will significantly increase the odds of a successful outcome in your case. Phoong Law can help you file a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for the parking lot accident. Our expert attorneys have helped clients in complicated personal injury cases throughout San Francisco and the Bay area. You can contact us 24/7 for a free initial consultation regarding your case.