While people may assume serious car accidents as occurring on the highways of St. Petersburg, parking lots are often grounds for major car crashes. Parking lot driving often involves reduced visibility while drivers are turning, backing up, and paying more attention to finding a space than watching for pedestrians and other vehicles.
Accidents in parking lots differ from other car accidents in numerous ways, so if you were injured in such an incident, it may be wise to consult a St. Petersburg parking lot accident lawyer who is familiar with these differences. An experienced car collision attorney could help you work toward the full amount of compensation to which you may be entitled.
Laws and Law Enforcement are Different
A few key distinctions between parking lot accidents and other accidents involve the applicability of state and local laws and the response of law enforcement officials.
State and local rules of the road often do not apply for parking lot accidents since many parking lots are located on private property. Police often do not take a report or even respond to a call regarding an accident in a parking lot unless serious injuries occurred or criminal activity is involved.
These factors might make it difficult to establish fault and liability in an accident case. As such, it is often important to begin collecting evidence of the collision as soon as possible.
A shopping center may have surveillance footage showing the accident, so it might be important to try to obtain that video before it is recorded over. Florida law does impose certain duties on those who own and maintain parking lots, so if an accident was caused by unsafe conditions, it may be possible to hold the lot owner responsible. A St. Petersburg parking lot accident lawyer could help a person gather evidence in pursuit of a claim.
No-Fault Insurance Rules
If a parking lot accident results in only minor injuries, injured drivers in Florida must first file a claim with their own insurance company, even if they were not at fault for an accident. If serious injuries are suffered as a result of the accident, which is often the case when pedestrians are hit in parking lots, then the injured party may file a lawsuit to seek compensation to cover expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, future needs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Injuries are considered serious enough to justify a lawsuit if they cause:
- Permanent injury
- Permanent loss of an important body function
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
Those injured in a parking lot accident may also be able to seek recovery from another party’s insurer by filing a claim. In either scenario, a parking lot accident attorney in St. Petersburg may be able to help.
Comparative Negligence May Reduce Recovery
In many situations where it is alleged that the negligence of one person causes harm to another, the negligent individual may argue that the behavior of the injured individual caused or contributed to the harm. Even if this is true, Florida law specifies that such comparative negligence would not prevent that person from recovering damages. The amount a plaintiff could recover would be reduced by an amount proportionate to their degree of fault under Florida Statutes §768.81.
If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle that is backing out of a parking space, the driver may be found to be 90 percent at fault for not watching, and the pedestrian may be held 10 percent at fault for talking on a cell phone and not looking for cars. As they could with other aspects of such a case, a parking lot accident lawyer in St. Petersburg could help minimize the negative impact of this law on a prospective plaintiff.
Speak with a St. Petersburg Lot Accident Attorney
A person who suffers an injury in a parking lot accident may not be certain whether they should file a lawsuit or whether they need an attorney. A knowledgeable St. Petersburg parking lot accident lawyer could evaluate your situation, describe your options, and advocate for you to help you obtain appropriate recovery. To learn the advantages a parking lot accident attorney could provide in the circumstances of your case, call today for a consultation.