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What to do if You Get Hit by a Car in a Parking Lot

Parking lots should be safe places to walk, but they can pose a danger for pedestrians walking to and from nearby buildings. Each year, hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries occur in parking lots and garage structures, according to the National Safety Council.

Drivers typically cause these accidents through negligent behavior. At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, our Appleton pedestrian accident lawyers can investigate your pedestrian parking lot accident and help you file a lawsuit against the careless driver who caused your injuries.

The Dangers of Parking Lots

Parking lots are built to accommodate vehicles and as many parking spaces as possible. However, there are unique risks associated with parking lots that pose a threat to pedestrians.

Drivers and pedestrians often have difficulty navigating poorly designed parking facilities. For instance, a narrow parking lot with obstructions can create blind spots that make it hard for drivers to see pedestrians entering and exiting the lot.

Some parking lots have insufficient lighting, with broken or dim streetlights. As a result, pedestrians and drivers may not see each other in a parking lot, particularly at night and during inclement weather. Insufficient lighting makes pedestrians much harder to notice as they walk from the parking lot to the store or to other destinations.

How Parking Lot Accidents Happen

Motor vehicles are dangerous to unsuspecting pedestrians returning to their cars in parking lots. There are several reasons that pedestrian accidents occur in parking lots, including:

Distracted Driving

Drivers may focus on adjusting their vehicle’s settings and talking and texting on their phones while navigating a parking lot. This behavior can endanger pedestrians when distracted drivers ignore their surroundings.

Finding a Parking Space

In a rush to park, drivers may fail to notice pedestrians walking across the parking lot if they are glancing around for open spots. When they find a space, they may quickly pull into it without checking for pedestrians walking between cars or stepping out of or into a vehicle. As a result, they may hit someone and cause serious injuries.

Not Looking Before Backing Up

Before 2018, the NHTSA estimated nearly 15,000 injuries and 210 deaths due to backup accidents. 31% of backup deaths occurred in children 5 and under. Since 2018, the NHTSA has required backup cameras on newer vehicles, allowing drivers to check for pedestrians before backing out of a parking space.

However, drivers can still fail to see people out of range of the backup camera. Pedestrians walking behind older cars without backup cameras are at an added risk because drivers must manually check their rearview and side mirrors or turn around to look behind them.

What To Do if You’re Hit in a Parking Lot

If a car hits you in a parking lot, call the police and emergency services if you sustain injuries. Taking the following steps can help you preserve evidence and safeguard your right to compensation in a pedestrian accident claim:

Take Photos and Videos of Your Injuries

Take close-up photos and videos of your injuries, such as cuts, bruises, and bleeding. Detailed pictures provide evidence of the extent of your injuries. They also help your lawyer estimate a fair settlement to ask for from the driver’s insurance company and support your claim.

Exchange Insurance Information

It is essential to exchange contact and insurance information with the driver who hit you. This information is vital to filing a compensation claim with the driver’s insurance company. If the car driver flees the accident scene, note their car’s model and license plate, and report it to the police.

Ask for Witness Statements

If there are witnesses present, request their names and contact information. You might also ask if you can record what they saw while the incident is fresh in their memory.  Your lawyer can review this evidence. They can also contact them to record their statements and take extensive notes of what happened during the accident.

File a Police Report

Law enforcement officers will visit the accident scene to investigate and write a report. This document contains the facts of the accident and the officer’s determination of liability. Your attorney can use the police report to seek compensation from the driver on your behalf.

Obtain Medical Care

Getting medical treatment as soon as possible after sustaining injuries is crucial. Having a medical treatment plan creates a legitimate record of your injuries and connects them to the accident.

Be sure to keep all documents related to your care. These records include:

  • Names of treating physicians.
  • Appointment dates, times, and locations.
  • Travel expenses to and from the appointments.
  • Physicians’ prognosis and treatment plan for your injuries.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Diagnostic and laboratory tests.

Adding up all your medical receipts and records enables your lawyer to determine the value of your economic damages.

Tips to Protect Your Rights as a Pedestrian

Taking the appropriate steps after an injury accident with a negligent driver can help protect your rights as a pedestrian. It can also help you win compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses.

Hire a Car Accident Attorney

A car accident attorney can increase the possibility of securing a fair settlement for your injuries. The experienced car accident lawyers at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can investigate your case and file a car insurance claim against the negligent driver for compensation.

Your lawyer can bring your case to court to seek damages if the driver’s insurance company refuses to pay a fair settlement.

Preserve Evidence

Maintaining all evidence proving the driver’s liability for your injury is vital to obtaining financial compensation. For example, if you have torn or bloodied clothing after the accident, place them in a sealed bag and give them to your attorney for evidence. Save videos and photos of the accident or your injuries.

Your lawyer can also find out if the parking lot has surveillance cameras. If so, they can ask the parking lot’s owner for permission to acquire the video to see how the accident occurred. Your lawyer can preserve it as visual evidence to show to the insurance company or the court.

Keep a Recovery Journal

A journal can strengthen your compensation claim by offering insight into your injuries. It also helps your attorney assess your non-economic losses after the accident. During your recovery process, detail your pain levels in your journal from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. The journal can record how your injuries make you unable to partake in daily tasks such as:

  • Household chores like cleaning and cooking
  • Bathing, dressing, and other personal care tasks
  • Work performance, such as if you can no longer lift and pull objects
  • Previous hobbies you enjoyed, such as sports or dancing
  • Impact of your injuries on your relationships with your partner and family members

How Our Car and Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Can Help

As skilled car accident lawyers, we understand the rules and regulations all vehicle drivers must follow to keep pedestrians safe in and around parking lots. We review medical records, police reports, and witness statements to determine what happened during the accident. With our knowledge and expertise, we can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact our law office today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you after a parking lot accident with a vehicle.

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