While parking lot fender-benders tend to be relatively minor, they do happen more often than you may think. Things like speeding, driving while distracted, backing up without looking, or overestimating a vehicle’s ability to fit into a tight spot are all common causes of parking lot collisions. While these accidents usually don’t lead to severe injuries, this isn’t always the case, and knowing what to do after being involved in a parking garage auto accident is important. Here’s an overview of steps to take in the event that you are involved in a crash in a parking garage or parking lot—
What to Do in a Parking Garage Accident
After being involved in a parking garage accident, it’s important that you know what to do and that you act quickly. This is because taking the right steps can protect your right to compensation, which may be especially important if your damages are significant. Here are some important steps to take:
- Stay at the scene and exchange information with the other driver. First, be sure that you remain at the scene of the accident and get the other driver’s information and share your information, too. Information to be exchanged includes names, contact information, drivers’ license numbers, and vehicle registration and insurance information.
- Call the police if the accident is serious. If you are involved in a parking garage accident that is serious—which includes an accident where anyone is injured or there is property damage that exceeds $1,000—then you should call the police to report the accident. Accidents that meet these criteria must be reported under California law. What’s more, if you are involved in a serious accident and need to file an insurance claim, having a police report will be an important part of that.
- Get medical care. If you were in the vehicle at the time it was hit, you should seek medical care, even if your injuries don’t seem serious. Things like whiplash and concussions aren’t always immediately obvious, so getting a medical opinion early on can help to ensure that any problems are diagnosed. And, like the police report, if you do end up filing an insurance claim, having proof that you sought medical care immediately after the accident will be necessary.
- Call your insurance agent. You should report the accident to your insurance agent if you expect that you will need to file a claim for property damage or medical costs. You should report the accident to your insurance agent as soon as possible, as insurance companies can deny claims that aren’t reported in a timely manner.
- Reach out to an attorney. Finally, while the help of an attorney may not be necessary for all parking garage accidents—particularly those that don’t result in damages to the parties involved—the help of an attorney can be instrumental in a severe accident claim. If you have suffered injuries or property damage, the claim is being disputed, or if your parking garage accident was a hit and run, an attorney can help you to build your case and help you to recover the maximum amount of compensation available.
Your Right to Recover Compensation After a Parking Garage Accident
While parking garages are private property, there is no reason why you cannot or should not be compensated in full for your damages if the accident was caused by the negligence of another party. Our California car accident lawyers will work hard to prove fault and get you a settlement that fully compensates you for the value of your economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages include compensation for the value of your property damage costs, medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs; noneconomic damages are designed to compensate you for your intangible losses, such as the value of your pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
In a parking garage accident, you can file a claim directly against the liability insurance company for the at-fault driver. However, other parties may also be to blame. For example, if poor parking garage design contributed to the accident, then the parking garage owner or designer could be held partially liable. Or, if the accident was the result of poor signage or lighting, the parking garage owner could be to blame in this scenario, too.
How Our California Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
Being involved in a crash—regardless of where it happens—is unnerving. If you have been involved in a parking garage accident in our state, our California car accident attorneys will be available to build your case from start to finish and advocate for your right to a fair compensation award. To learn more about our services and how we can help you when you need it most, reach out to us by phone or online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.