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Parking Lot Accidents



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Parking Lot Accidents

Car accidents aren't funny, but the excuses often are

Parking lot accidents between two or more vehicles can present challenges not present with motor vehicle accidents that occur on the streets. Most people don’t realize this and instinctively call the local police department to report the accident. What they don’t know is that there’s not a whole lot that can be done by the police when a car accident occurs in a parking lot.

For instance: Last week my sister was driving thru a parking lot, following the arrow painted on the pavement, traveling between two rows of parked cars and parking spots. Suddenly another car approaching from the opposite direction turned and just rammed into the side of her car.

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As soon as she could retrieve her phone from where it had flown upon impact, she called the police. She gave them directions and began the long, long wait.

I happened to be in the store she had just left, so she called me to let me know about the accident and that she couldn’t get out of her car. I got there to find that the two cars had come to a halt with the other cars left front bumper just inches from the driver’s door, pinning my sister inside her car.

Since she was unable to get out of the car, I took pictures of all different angles and views of the damage with my cell phone and her cell phone. I also wrote down all the information from the other driver’s insurance papers and driver’s license.

Finally after about an hour and a half, and a second call to the police department, a police officer drove up in his squad car. The officer got out, gathered both drivers licenses and insurance papers and disappeared back in his car. After about 15 minutes he came back, returned the papers and said…

“There’s nothing I can do. Since the accident took place in a parking lot I can’t even determine who was at fault or write a citation.”

He went on to explain that in Fort Worth, the police don’t even respond to non-injury parking lot accidents. Parking lots are private property and thus not under the jurisdiction of the local police department.

I have since learned that the most disputed car accidents are parking lot accidents. It becomes a matter of he said she said, and can become a real insurance mess.

If you are involved in a parking lot accident, make sure you do report it to your insurance company, even if you’re not at fault. It is not unknown for the driver who admits fault at the scene to turn around and file a claim against the other driver, so protect yourself by reporting the parking lot crash to your insurance provider.

The best way to avoid parking lot accidents is to be very alert to what the other guy is doing. Watch for those car speeding across the parking spaces instead of following the designated lanes. If you’re moving behind parked vehicles, be watchful for those cars backing out of their parking spaces. Many times the drivers have only taken a cursory glance to the rear and have no idea you’ve moved into striking range.

Learn more about Parking Lot Accidents.

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