It is estimated that up to 20 percent of all car accidents in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in Pennsylvania occur in parking lots. Parking lot accidents, which are responsible for about 60,000 injuries and 500 deaths in the U.S. each year, are very similar to car crashes that occur on public roads and highways.
“However, these two types of accidents can be different in a number of ways,” warns our Pittsburgh parking lot accident attorney at SMA Law Group. You need to understand these differences if you want to seek maximum compensation for your damages and losses suffered in a car accident in a parking lot.
The first major difference that may be encountered after a parking lot accident is when you try to call the police. Typically, in car accidents that occur on public roads and highways, the police will arrive to write an accident report and gather key information about the crash regardless of the severity of the injuries.
In a parking lot accident, on the other hand, the police will most likely not arrive if (a) the accident occurred on a private property, and (b) the accident resulted in only minor injuries or property damage. Unless there are serious injuries or public safety concerns, the police will most likely not respond to a parking lot accident.
“Insurance companies play a much bigger role in parking lot accidents than the police, which is why the police entrust insurance companies with the responsibility to investigate parking lot car accidents and establish fault,” explains our experienced parking lot accident attorney in Pittsburgh.
Since the police has the primary function to collect information at the scene of a car accident and since the police will most likely not respond to your parking lot accident, it means you will be responsible for gathering information about the accident on your own.
The information should include the other driver’s name, address, contact information, vehicle and model information, license plate, and insurance information. It is also a good idea to speak to witnesses and write down their contact information. Also, do not forget to take photos at the scene, and check for surveillance cameras.
Fact: Most parking lots and nearby businesses in Pittsburgh and all across Pennsylvania have surveillance cameras. A skilled parking lot accident lawyer in Pittsburgh will help you obtain access to the footage showing your car accident.
The process of determining liability for parking lot accident is no different from the process of determining liability for car crashes on public roads and highways. However, it is important to understand that both the police and insurance companies play a major role in determining who is at fault in any type of motor vehicle accident, and given that the police are not involved in the vast majority of parking lot accidents, determining fault in your accident may be complicated.
And this creates a series of potential problems and legal challenges. For one, insurance companies are infamous for their reluctance and unwillingness to investigate personal injury claims fairly and unbiasedly. Our lawyers at SMA Law Group also warn that since the police will most likely not respond to your parking lot accident, there is a greater risk of being fooled by insurance companies.
Make sure you get a free consultation from a skilled car accident lawyer before notifying your insurance company about the parking lot crash. Insurers have plenty of dishonest and fraudulent tactics to minimize and deny personal injury and property damage claims. Do not become one of thousands of Americans who get fooled by insurance companies every year.