Even though parking lot accidents may take place throughout the year, there appears to be an increase in the number of insurance claims for parking lot accidents during the holiday shopping season beginning with Black Friday. According to the NSC, there are more than 50,000 garage structure and parking lot accidents in the United States each year.
Parking Lot Accidents Are More Dangerous Than The Average Person May Think
You might assume that parking lot accidents are low-speed accidents that cannot cause much damage other than a simple fender-bender. However, this assumption is incorrect. Parking lot accidents cause much more damage than just physical damage to the vehicles. More than 60,000 people are injured, and more than 500 people are killed each year in accidents in garage structures and parking lots. Therefore, some accidents in parking structures and lots are responsible for physical harm and great emotional pain in the loss of family members.
Why Do Parking Lot Accidents Occur?
Many of the parking lot accidents occur for the same reasons as accidents occur on roads, highways, and interstates. However, when you consider parking lots during the holidays are more crowded with vehicles and pedestrians, the expectation of an increase in accidents seems reasonable.
Some of the common causes of parking lot accidents include:
- Drivers backing into each other or a driver backing into a person. In a parking lot, you must check for vehicles backing out of spaces across from you, vehicles traveling up and down the aisle, and pedestrians walking through the parking lot (especially children). Do not rely on backup cameras and warning signals. Always look several times before and during backing out of a parking space and back out very slowly.
- Drivers pulling through parking spaces. It is unlikely that a parking space might be open in front of your vehicle during the holidays. However, pulling through a parking space is a common cause of parking lot accidents.
- Impaired driving, especially in parking lots of malls or shopping centers that include restaurants that serve alcohol.
- Speeding, reckless driving, and ignoring directional signals can cause accidents in parking lots.
- Runaway shopping carts are another reason for accidents in a parking lot.
- Cutting off other drivers in an attempt to “steal” a parking space. This reason may increase during the holidays when parking spaces are difficult to find.
Distracted drivers and distracted shoppers are another reason for parking lot accidents. During the holidays, it is easy to be distracted by thoughts of what you need to get done before going home. Checking holiday to-do and holiday shopping lists add to the list distractions of related to electronic devices such as texting, checking emails, and talking on cell phones.
Will the Police Investigate a Parking Lot Accident in Chicago?
You should treat a parking lot accident like any other accident. Therefore, call the Chicago police department to report the accident, even if the police refuse to investigate the accident. Always exchange information with the other driver, including insurance information, name, and contact information. Even if the police arrive, it is also a good idea to take pictures of the accident scene, especially the position of the vehicles before they are moved to clear traffic.
Also, eyewitness testimony can be extremely useful. Many witnesses do not remain at the accident scene to wait for police officers to arrive. If possible, obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses who are willing to provide this information to you.
As with any car accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Parking lot accidents may occur at slower speeds; however, low-speed car accidents may still cause severe injuries that result in substantial damages.