Parking Lot Accident? What You Should Know
At times, parking lots and garages can be difficult for even the most experienced drivers to navigate. They can often be very busy, with people walking around, drivers who aren’t paying attention, or are driving too fast. There may also be people trying to back out of spaces who can’t see around a neighboring vehicle to notice an oncoming vehicle or nearby pedestrian.
In 2016, CBS News reported that approximately 1 in 5 car accidents occurs in parking lots. However, this might be underreporting how common these types of accidents are, since many parking lot accidents only cause property damage and might not get reported to police if the damage is minor. However, there are times when parking lot crashes do result in injuries or death, particularly when pedestrians are involved.
If you happen to be involved in a parking lot car accident, what should you do?
Michigan Law & Parking Lot Car Accidents
Michigan has a no-fault auto insurance law, which means that when people get into a car accident, they go through their own insurance to make a claim for damages, regardless of whether or not they were at fault. However, there is an exception if a car was parked at the time of the accident. In that situation, a claim for damages can go through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If you’re walking in a parking lot and get hit by a car, you can still make a claim for medical expenses through your no-fault insurance policy.
Since many car accidents in parking lots only result in minor damage, it’s important to understand when car accidents need to be reported to the police. Under section 257.622 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, motor vehicle accidents are required to be reported to the police if they cause more than $1,000 worth of damage or if the crash causes death or injury. If no injuries or fatalities are involved and the damage is reasonably less than $1,000, police might not come out to the scene of a parking lot accident, but this is something that can vary depending on which police department you contact.
In cases where damages are less than $1,000, drivers can make a mini-tort claim for damages to their vehicle. In this situation, it’s important to understand that there are restrictions on when mini-tort claims can be filed. Mini-tort claims can only be used to recover repairs to a vehicle, they cannot be used for injury cases. You also cannot make a mini-tort claim if the car was parked and unoccupied at the time of the accident or if you have an insurance policy that includes collision coverage and you wouldn’t have to pay a deductible before your costs are covered. Also, to be eligible to make a mini-tort claim, the other driver needs to have been at least 50% at fault for the accident.
Do I Need to Get Information From the Other Driver?
If you’ve been involved in a parking lot car accident, it is important to exchange information with the other driver, even if it seems like the damage is minor. Be sure to get the other driver’s name, address, contact information, insurance information, and details about the other driver’s vehicle – license plate number, make, model and color. You should also take pictures of the accident site and damage to both vehicles. Also, be sure to note the date, time, and location of the accident. If there are witnesses, be sure to get their names and contact information as well.
If the at-fault driver leaves without speaking to you or even leaving a note, your damages may be covered by your insurance policy’s collision coverage. If you were injured by a hit-and-run driver and have auto insurance with uninsured motorist coverage, you may be able to recover damages through that coverage. Since many businesses have security cameras in their parking lots, you may be able to work with the store to get footage of the accident and get information to help identify the driver.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash – regardless of where the accident occurred – don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer for help. It’s important to have someone on your side who can help make sure you recover all of the damages you’re entitled to. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’re experienced in handling no-fault claims and helping car accident victims in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your case.