Sometimes parking lots can feel like the old Wild West – lawless territory with “every man for himself.” And although we know that’s not actually true, if you’ve driven or walked through a crowded parking lot lately, you likely understand what we mean. Parking lots, whether at a shopping center, place of worship, or school, can be a dangerous place for both drivers and pedestrians alike, especially when negligence is involved.
What causes parking lot crashes and injuries?
Parking lots are typically bustling with activity, with pedestrians, vehicles, and shopping carts moving around in all directions. It only takes a moment for one person to become distracted to cause a collision and injure others, whether in another car or on foot. Parking lot accidents generally involve either two vehicles hitting each other, one vehicle striking a pedestrian, or individuals suffering injuries due to unsafe parking lot conditions.
One of the biggest factors in parking lot collisions is driver inattention. In a public opinion poll, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that drivers admitted they would engage in distracted driving behaviors in parking lots, including:
- Making phone calls – 66%
- Programming their GPS – 63%
- Texting – 56%
- Using social media – 52%
- Sending or receiving emails – 50%
- Taking photos or watching videos – 49%
The NSC also reports that, even though many vehicles today are equipped with rear-view cameras, nine percent of pedestrian deaths in parking lots are from back-up incidents. Drivers should not rely solely on their safety technology systems and always be alert when pulling out of a parking space.
You may also experience an injury in a parking lot through no fault of your own due to dangerous conditions. These types of claims are called premises liability, and are the types of injuries that happen when you slip on snow or ice, sprain your ankle in a pothole, or trip down the stairs due to poor lighting. Further, large parking lots or parking lots with improper security are also vulnerable to crime, another premises liability issue.
What should I do if I’m hurt in a Maryville parking lot accident?
If you’re injured in a parking lot, no matter where you are, your first priority should be ensuring that you are physically okay. Next, take a few steps to start building a strong claim to the insurance company. An experienced law firm can help. These actions can help protect your case:
- Notify the police. They can summon medical help, and will also take a report of the incident. This report will prove invaluable to your injury claim and will contain a great deal of the information your insurance company will require. Ensure you request a copy of the police report following your accident.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses to the incident, including phone numbers and full names.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident and injury. If possible (and safe to do so), get multiple angles of the vehicles and damage. If unsafe conditions caused your injuries, photograph the hazard or condition. Also, write down everything you remember from the incident while things are fresh in your mind.
- See a doctor immediately for medical treatment. Save all medical records, documents, and receipts relating to your injuries. Make sure you follow your doctor’s treatment plan exactly.
- Consult with a Maryville attorney to determine the strength of your case, as well as the amount of financial compensation to which you may be entitled
Here in Tennessee, we have a one-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This is a very short window, so there’s no time to waste. Some victims decide to see how their injuries heal before taking legal action, only to find that the statute of limitations has closed, and they have given up their right to a settlement. Remember, the sooner you begin working with an attorney, the sooner you can secure the compensation you need.
The personal injury attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. have been helping injury victims in Maryville for over 30 years. When someone’s negligence causes you harm, look to us for experienced advocacy. Schedule your free consultation today by calling a member of our East Tennessee legal team at 865-982-8060, or we invite you to complete our contact form.