How Does Right of Way Affect My Parking Lot Accident?

parking lot

Picture this: you’ve just finished packing your groceries in your car’s trunk and are about to head home after a long day of running errands. You check your mirrors to make sure you won’t hit a pedestrian or another car, and start reversing out of your parking spot.

Suddenly you rear end someone who was also starting to depart from the other side of the lane.

Did you have the right of way? Would you be at fault for hitting a car that was also backing out of a spot?

Right of Way: Road vs. Lot

parking lot with road arrows

If you are a licensed driver in Indianapolis, you should be familiar with the rules of right-of-way. From I-69 and its ever-changing lanes, to any one-way street downtown, there are few road conditions that a seasoned driver isn’t prepared for.

But we forget that parking lots have right-of-way guidelines as well. The lack of stop signs, lights, and designated turn lanes can create a more anarchic environment, but there is a method to the madness.

Parking lots have right of way in the through lane, the main lanes that are lined with parking spots. If you’re backing out of a parking spot, you must yield to drivers in the through lane. The only exception is if they give you the go-ahead to leave so they can take your spot.

When it comes to two cars backing out on opposite sides of the parking lane, the second vehicle to begin moving must yield to the one that started moving first. That is why it is so important to check your mirrors and exercise caution when backing out of a parking spot.

Determining Fault in a Parking Lot

yield sign

Indiana is a fault state. If you are involved in a car accident in Indiana, you are assigned a percentage of fault equal to the amount of negligence you showed at the time of the accident. This is called comparative fault. In order to receive any amount of compensation, you must be 50% or less at fault for the car accident.

For some cases, determining fault in a parking lot accident may be straightforward — like if a driver failed to halt at a “Stop” or “Yield” sign.

However, in parking lot accidents that involve two cars backing out of their parking spaces at the same time, it may be more difficult to assign fault. After a parking lot car accident:

  • Do not apologize
  • Call the police
  • Check with the store or location to see if there is video of the accident
  • File a claim or contact a personal injury attorney

Help from an Evansville Car Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident that occurred in a parking lot, and you need someone to guide you through the maze of comparative fault, the personal injury lawyers at Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.