Who is Responsible for Vehicle Damage in a Parking Lot

How exhausting and frustrating it is when you come out of the office or grocery store to enter your car only to see that it has been damaged by some reckless driver.

It could be so maddening to any vehicle owner. You begin to curse and shout because you do not know what to do next and start wondering who is responsible for vehicle damage in a parking lot?

If the parking lot has a liability sign that states that they are not responsible for any damage that may occur to your vehicle when parked in their parking lot, then, you can’t hold them responsible for damages to your parked vehicle. However, you can get video footage and hold the perpetrator responsible.

Who is Responsible for Vehicle Damage in a Parking Lot?

Who is really at fault when damage happens in a parking lot? No matter how arranged a parking lot is or how structured cars park in a garage, accidents are sure to occur.

This could be due to distracted drivers, overspeeding drivers, or drivers that take risks when they really should not be. No matter the cause of the vehicle damage in the parking lot, someone must take responsibility for it.

As a car owner, when your car is damaged in a parking lot, you might need to fight to get compensation. But it depends on if the fault is yours. If you parked wrongly and block someone’s way, while trying to find his way out, and scratch your car, you are at fault.

Also, you can’t hold the parking lot responsible if there is a liability sign hung in the parking lot which states that they are not responsible should your sustain any damage while parked in their lots. In this case, you can’t hold them responsible as well.

They can however show the footage of the incident and hope you make use of the footage to hold the perpetrator responsible.

Accidents in parking lots or garages are caused by some factors:

1. Failure to Yield

Many of the accidents that occur in a parking lot are caused by a failure to yield. The law is very clear about who should give up the right of way in particular scenarios.

When in a parking lot, a person should yield to someone that is already in the lane of traffic. This means that if you want to go out from a parking lot, you need to wait until the lane of traffic you intend to enter is clear of traffic completely.

This does not play out every time in reality, sadly. Some people might see that they have small space and then they start backing out, with the knowledge that people in the lane of traffic will stop and wait for them.

It might happen sometimes but if they do that in front of a car that does not have time to stop, an accident might occur and they will be at fault.

Other scenarios might include two cars backing out at the same time. Imagine a situation where two cars come from two opposite directions back into the same lane of traffic at the same time.

It is possible that their eyes might be on the road they might fail to check for other cars moving in the same direction.

If an accident occurs, both drivers are responsible for it. As a driver, you are obliged to check for other incoming cars and make sure that the lane you want to enter is free.

2. Improper Parking

Some drivers seem to find it difficult to park the right way. Not like this is a problem though. It is okay so far; no damage or accidents are caused.

When driving in a parking lot and you hit or damage a car parked illegally, the owner of the illegally parked car is responsible for it.

However, if you hit a legally parked car when driving in a parking lot, you are responsible for the damage.

3. Unclear Right of Way

The whole clarity behind driving in a parking lot or on the motorway is difficult for some people to interpret. It is hard for some to know when to keep moving and when to give way to other vehicles.

So will help, a traffic lane that has direct access to a road must have the right of way over the other lanes which feed into the main traffic lane.

Imagine a parking garage with a really stretched lane that is parallel to the road. Cars have to drive along that path and then turn right to enter the road.

If there are other roads that are perpendicular to the main road to go into the main lane, vehicles on that road must give up the right of way for other vehicles on the main lane.

4. The fault of the Property Owner

I know we see many accidents as being caused by drivers and vehicle faults but some accidents are also caused by the property owners. A poorly constructed or illegally maintained parking lot can be the main cause of accidents in the parking lot.

An excellently designed parking lot should have signs all over that shows the traffic direction, the direction to exit and enter, the blind spots in the parking lot, the speed limits, the pedestrian signs, and other signs normal roads should have.

When this is not in place, it could lead to accidents within the facility and the owners of the parking lot will be responsible.

There are some other instances in which a property owner can be partly responsible for vehicle damage in a parking lot. They include poor lighting within the parking lot, the presence of unclear lane marking, very narrow lanes, sharp turns at blind spots, etc. All these are dangerous instances that can cause accidents and vehicle damage within a parking lot.

What Can You Do if Your Car is Damaged from a Parking Lot?

You should make a report to the police. But getting reimbursement for parking lot accidents is not easy. The fact that the accident occurred on private property makes the police reluctant or less inclined toward writing citations for the offenders.

In many cases, you should contact your attorney. They know what to do and how to do it. They can request security footage of the parking lot at that particular instance to know further steps to take.

Attorneys are well trained to fight for your case and ensure you get the best possible compensation if it is certain that you were not at fault for your vehicle damage in a parking lot.

Can You Claim for Damage in a Car Park?

Yes, you can claim damage in a car park. When someone hits your car, you do not need to engage in verbal or physical battles with them. Just inform your attorney and your auto insurer. They will handle the matter appropriately.

Does Insurance Cover Parking Lot Damage?

Anytime you get involved in a car accident or your car gets damaged in the parking lot or garage, it can impact your insurance. Parking lots are generally seen as private properties but the laws governing roads and other lanes apply there as well.

When damage is done to your car in a parking lot, you need to file a claim and you can expect your auto insurer to take care of it by investigating, determining who was at fault, and the payouts.

To answer the question, your car is covered by your insurance policy so long as you have collision coverage in the policy.

How Does Insurance Work in a Parking Lot

Accidents happen naturally and that is why insurance was created. Insurance policies are designed to be activated in the event of accidents or other unfortunate, unpredictable events.

There is collision coverage in most insurance policies. If you have this in your insurance policy, when damage is done to your car in a parking lot, all you have to do is report it to your auto insurer. They know the steps to take in investigating and if possible, getting payouts for you.

What Happens if Someone Scratches Your Car While Parked and Left?

It is possible for another driver to scratch your car in a parking lot regardless of how well you think you parked your vehicle.

In a normal scenario, since you were not at the scene when it occurred, the vehicle’s driver who hit your car should leave a note telling you how to contact him when you see it.

His own auto-insurer should pay the cost of damages but if he does not leave any note of contact with him whatsoever, what do you do?

You can either contact your attorney or your auto-insurer. They will investigate and either track down the offender or bear the cost of damages to your car.

Does it Affect Your Insurance if Someone Hit Your Parked Car?

Yes, your insurance can be affected if someone hits your parked car. When you report the incident to your auto-insurer, they look at the details and see who was at fault; you or the other driver.

If you are at fault, you will need to pay the cost of damages yourself through your auto-insurer but if you are not, the other driver will pay the cost of damages.

Final Thoughts

Accidents are bound to occur in a parking lot. It is a natural and common event. If your vehicle is damaged in a parking lot, you need to get in touch with your attorney and your auto-insurer.

They will investigate the cause of the damage and carry out the fact-finding process for you. Eventually, your car will be fixed and restored to its original condition. So, worry not!