Did you know that you have a right to be compensated when you are injured in a parking lot in Florida? Personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach can help you recover the costs you incurred for medical expenses and other damages as a result of the accident.

During the summer, there is no better way to spend the day in Florida than at the beach or one of the city’s parks. However, everyone seems to come out to enjoy the great weather, and this means one thing: overcrowded amenities. 

Most parking lots are usually crowded with pedestrians and vehicles. This explains why parking lot collisions are common in Florida during the summer.

Parking lot collisions can either be minor or severe. If you sustain serious injuries from a parking lot collision, you should hire an attorney to help you. 

Types of Parking Lot Collisions

Florida parking lots are usually full of vehicles and pedestrians. Therefore, it is no wonder that parking lot collisions are reported nearly every day. Here are the most commonly-reported collisions:

  • A vehicle backs into another when exiting its parking space
  • Colliding directly into other vehicles that may be around when pulling out from a parking spot
  • Rear ending other vehicles parked in the parking lot
  • Two drivers trying to pull into the same space at the same time 

What to Do When Involved in a Parking Lot Collision

When you are involved in a parking lot collision, it is important to know what to do. From the onset, you should document the event by gathering as much information as possible. Thoroughly documenting the event can be beneficial for your case in the long run.

Follow the following steps after a collision:

Call the Authorities

The first step to take after a collision is to call Florida authorities. If the accident occurred on private property, a law enforcement officer may be sent to the scene.

If the accident was in a parking lot of a privately owned store of business, the police may not necessarily make a report. However, you should still call to find out what the officers suggest should be done to handle the situation.

Confirm any Injuries

In most cases, parking lot accidents are low speed. However, they can still cause injuries. When your car is rammed by another driver, check whether you and the other passengers in your vehicle have sustained any injuries. Whether or not you have been injured, go to the hospital for a checkup on the same day.

According to Florida’s no-fault laws, personal injury victims are required to get treatment as soon as possible before filing a claim. It can be difficult for the insurance party to know how much settlement to offer when you don’t have a physician’s report outlining the extent of your injuries.

Document the Scene of the Accident

Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene. In particular, take photographs of the vehicle, showing where it has been damaged. Also, capture the surrounding areas. 

If the other driver is claiming that he/she was obstructed when driving and this led to the accident, take a photo of the obstructing object. If you believe that poor weather or parking lot conditions contributed to the accident, take photographs to back up your claim. 

You can also take videos of the scene to get a 360-degree view of the aftermath of the accident.

Record Information from Witnesses

Unless you were getting in or out of the parking lot very late at night, it is likely that other people witnessed the accident. If there are people around, talk to them to find out what they saw. Record short statements from the witnesses and obtain their contact information, if they agree to it. 

Collecting personal information from the witnesses is important just in case you need to reach them in the future to ask something about the accident.

Exchange Information with the Other Driver

After an accident, it is standard practice for the people involved to exchange contact information. At the minimum, ask for the other driver’s contact information, their license, and insurance company. To make your work easier, simply photograph the IDs or cards that the driver will provide instead of writing information down.

Florida Law Regarding Parking Lot Driving

Some Florida parking lots do not have speed limit signs. However, the law requires car owners not to exceed 10 to 15 miles per hour when driving in parking lots. Apart from that, the standard traffic rules, such as obeying one-way traffic arrows and signage, apply when driving in the lot.

How is Fault Determined?

Florida authorities do not typically respond to accidents that happen in private property. Therefore, the parties involved have to determine who was at fault on their own. This is why it is important to take photographic evidence as well as witness statements to build your case. If the parking lot has surveillance cameras, the footage will prove helpful in determining fault.

If you are injured in a parking lot accident in Florida, contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney for an evaluation. While you can file a claim without the help of a lawyer, you are likely to be overwhelmed with the process. Moreover, the insurance companies and their adjusters are likely to take you for a ride, to the extent of denying your claim.

The law affords you certain rights when you sustain injuries in a parking lot accident. However, to ensure those rights are protected, you need an experienced attorney on your side.

How Much Compensation Are You Entitled To?

The damages you are entitled to after a parking lot accident will vary depending on various things. In most cases, the settlement will be determined based on:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether you had any role to play in the events that led to the accident
  • How quickly you want to settle
  • Your negotiating skills 
  • The total cost of medical bills resulting from your injuries

It is prudent to hire a personal injury attorney to take over your case and handle the negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. The attorney will keep your interests first and ensure you end up getting a fair settlement.