This article tells you what to do and what not to following a parking lot car accident so that you don’t break the law and can protect your finances.
Did you know that one in every five accidents happens in the parking lots? Although most of them are minor ‘fender bender’ types, many drivers don’t know how to handle the situation. Should I report it to the police? Should I inform my insurer? A number of questions crop up following parking lot accidents. The fact that a parking lot is a private property and a unique set of right-of-way guidelines governs it differentiates it from other types of car accidents. Here are four insurance related issues to consider in case of a parking lot accident.
Since parking lots fall under the category of private property, accidents that occur in such spots come under the preview of a special type of insurance policy – the collision insurance. Whether you are at fault or not, this policy keeps you covered in both cases. If you are at fault, your insurer will pay for the damages made by you. If you are not at fault, you may file a claim seeking reimbursement for repairing costs. However, before disbursing payments, your insurer may investigate what had actually happened, and who exactly was at fault. The compensation depends on their findings.
Determination of Fault
There is a set of rules to determine who is at fault when an accident occurs in a parking lot. Some of the rules are universal. For example, if you hit another vehicle from the rear, you are at fault. Several rules apply uniquely to the parking lot scenarios. For example, you are at fault when you overlook a ‘stop’ sign and strike another car from the back, or violate the right of way guidelines for the cars that enter the larger paths from the feeder lanes. In addition, you are also at fault if you hit pedestrians from behind.
Car Insurance Premium
You will have to pay higher premium if your insurance providers find you at fault in a parking lot accident. However, you can bypass this rate hike if your policy includes an accident forgiveness clause and if that is applicable to the particular accident. It’s important to note that legal ramifications of any accident is same regardless of where it took place – in a public place or in a private area. If the accident is the result of driving under influence, you may receive a DUI charge. You may also get demerit points to your license.
Many accidents can happen even to your parked car. For instance, another driver may hit it or someone may open the car door and slam it against your vehicle, thereby damaging it. If all these happen in your absence, your insurance company is likely to treat it as a hit-and-run case. In such situations, you will get a reimbursement under the collision coverage. However, if you are at fault in the accident, there will be an increase in your premium rate.
In case you are at fault and don’t have a collision-coverage, you will have to bear the expense of repairing the damage. You will have to pay a deductible to cover the expense. Nevertheless, you will have to inform the police about the incident and obtain a report.
Whether it’s a public street or a parking lot, if you are involved in a car accident, never ever get into an argument about who was at fault, and more importantly, never admit your fault. However, by avoiding to park in spots that are too crowded, you can avoid such predicaments.