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Who Is at Fault For a Parking Lot Car Accident?

July 22, 2019

Parking lots are common settings for car accidents in Colorado. Confusing parking lot designs, faded paint and negligent drivers can contribute to harmful or damaging collisions in parking lots. If you were recently involved in a parking lot collision, you may be eligible for financial compensation from one or multiple negligent parties. Learn who could be at fault for your accident.

Person calling the police after a parking lot accident

Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Case

The defendant in a personal injury claim is the person or company allegedly responsible for causing the injured victim’s (plaintiff’s) injuries. After any kind of car accident, it is the victim’s job to identify the defendant and file a claim with that person’s insurance company. A parking lot accident case could involve one or more defendants.

A Driver

Speeding, distracted driving and reckless driving can cause preventable parking lot collisions. If a negligent or careless driver strikes a pedestrian or another vehicle in a parking lot, that driver could be liable for damages.

Property Owner

If the accident occurs on private property, the company or individual who owns the parking lot could be liable. This may be the case if a defect such as a pothole or unsafe parking lot design caused the collision.

The City

The city with jurisdiction over a public parking lot could be accountable for damages if it reasonably should have done more to increase the safety of the lot. If proper maintenance or repairs could have prevented the crash, the city could be responsible.

Parking lot accident cases can get confusing when neither driver admits fault. In most cases, the driver that did not have the right-of-way is at fault, unless the other driver was behaving recklessly at the time of the collision. For example, the driver coming down the lane would have the right-of-way and generally would not be responsible for a collision involving a vehicle backing out of a parking spot.

Shared Fault

If two vehicles are backing out at the same time, both drivers may share fault for the accident. In a rear-end collision, the rear driver that collided with someone is typically at fault. If a driver cuts off an oncoming car to take a parking spot, that driver will be at fault. In a Denver pedestrian accident case, the fault would go to the party that failed to yield the right-of-way. Understanding the rights-of-way in your particular case may be necessary to obtain compensation.

Colorado Fault Laws

Car insurance laws in Colorado hold the at-fault party financially responsible for everyone’s damages. From an insurance company’s perspective, the at-fault party is the person or entity most responsible for causing the car accident. Proving fault for a parking lot car accident may take an investigation of events. An investigator will interview people who witnessed the crash, review parking lot surveillance videos and re-create the accident to determine its cause. Once the investigator names the defendant, victims can proceed with their claims.

Proving someone else’s fault for a car accident takes establishing four main elements: duty of care, breach of duty, damages and causation. You or your attorney will have to establish that the at-fault party owed a duty to exercise reasonable care, failed to fulfill this duty and in doing so caused the collision. You will also have to have suffered measurable damages, such as vehicle damage or personal injuries.

Colorado’s fault laws state that an accident victim may recover financial compensation in proportion to his or her degree of negligence. The comparative negligence law allows victims to recover as long as they are less than 50% at fault. In other words, the courts will reduce your compensation award by your percentage of fault. Maximizing your compensation award after a parking lot collision in Colorado may take help from an experienced Denver car collision attorney.