If Car Was Hit While Parked in Florida
When you park your car in your driveway, on a street, or in a parking lot and it is hit, you might not know what to do. You might also be unaware of the options you have available to hold the driver responsible for your damaged property or to have your own insurer cover repair or replacement costs.
Who is at fault in an accident in a parking lot?
We rarely think about it, but parking lots are prime places to get into an accident. These busy areas are filled with people on the move, some of them careless, in a hurry, or just not paying attention. The National Safety Council (NSC) cites statistics from a public poll it conducted that 66% of U.S. drivers across the U.S. self-reported that they would make phone calls on their cell phones while driving through parking lots.
All of these factors can cause anything from minor fender-benders to property damage and serious injuries, particularly if pedestrians are involved. Even with the best intentions to stay alert and look out for others, including pedestrians and parked vehicles, a parking lot accident can happen.
When it does, the next question is who is at fault and what happens next?
My Car Was Hit While Parked on the Street in Florida
Parking lot accidents can get complex quickly, especially in a situation where it is possible that all parties involved share some responsibility. Examples of these scenarios are:
- Two vehicles going after a parking space that comes available
- Two or more vehicles reversing out of their parking spaces at the same time, hitting each other
- A vehicle backing out into oncoming traffic in the parking lot
- A driver cutting across lanes in the lot without looking out for other cars
- A vehicle speeding through the parking lot, failing to heed “stop” or “yield” signs
- A driver failing to see a stopped driver before hitting the rear-end of their car
Parties involved in scenarios like these above may be found liable for an accident in a parking lot. Sometimes, the owner of the lot could be liable if an existing condition on the property contributed to the accident, such as poor lighting or a preventable blind spot.
Getting a Police Report for Florida Parking Lot Accident
Many parking lots in Florida are not public; they are privately owned. In these cases, it could be difficult to get a police report filed if a) there are no serious injuries from an accident and b) the accident happened on private property.
However, in Florida, you are required by law to report an accident if it causes more than $500 in medical expenses and damages, per Florida Statutes § 316.065.
A hit-and-run accident that occurs in a parking lot is a serious matter. The police should be called, and a report should be filed. In minor accidents, if there is no police report, be sure to get the contact information of all parties involved in the accident. You also should try to get information from witnesses who can support your account of the event.
PIP and Parking Lot Accident Damages
In general, because Florida is a no-fault state, you will likely need to cover your damages with your insurer if they do not exceed your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. In Florida, the minimum amount of PIP coverage is $10,000, per Florida Statutes § 627.736. If your damages exceed this amount, then determining who is at fault in a parking lot accident is very important. Usually, when this happens, injuries and property damage are serious.
Negligence and the duty of care
Whether you are driving in a private parking lot or a public road, you should be able to expect other drivers to exercise a duty of care. Motorists are still responsible for showing care for themselves and others while driving, even if they are not driving on major roadways. This includes obeying all traffic signals, speed limits, and road signs, as well as observing all state and local traffic laws.
How a Parking Lot Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you decide to pursue a claim or lawsuit against the driver who hit you to recover compensation for your injuries, damaged property, or other losses, you can hire one of our lawyers who handle parking lot accidents.
A personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale can help you establish a liable party’s negligence and make a case for damages. They also can help you determine the value of your case and what kinds of awards you could recover. Depending on your case, you may be able to be compensated for:
- Medical bills (emergency and follow-up care for injuries, rehabilitation, medical exams)
- Vehicle damage (including the repair or replacement of your vehicle)
- Property damage (e.g., items inside the vehicle that were damaged)
- Other accident-related expenses
Our attorney will review the details concerning your accident to determine the cause and if the driver who hit you was:
- Traveling at an unreasonable speed in the parking lot
- Driving in the wrong direction, such as a designated one-way lane
- Rushing and failing to check before backing out of a parking space or turning into one
- Driving while distracted, such as talking on their cell phone or doing something else that took their attention away from driving
- Under the influence of substances while driving (e.g., narcotics, prescription drugs, alcohol)
All of these behaviors show a failure to show a duty of care while behind the wheel. You may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against a driver who failed to show you a duty of care while driving.
Proving negligence in a parking lot accident
To bring a claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver in a parking lot accident, you must have proof that they are at fault. A personal injury lawyer can help you do that if there is evidence to support your claim.
The following evidence can help you make your case:
- Photographs from the accident scene, vehicle damage, or your injuries
- Eyewitness accounts from people who saw your accident occur
- Footage from a nearby security camera that can show what happened
- Medical records, medical bills
- Mechanic repair invoices, receipts
The aim is to present evidence that establishes that carelessness on the driver’s part caused you harm. Our lawyer can review your personal injury protection (PIP) policy to see if your damages exceed the coverage limits.
Parking lot accidents are not always cut and dry incidents but hiring an attorney can help you recover damages that may be rightfully yours. In Florida, you have four years from the accident date to pursue legal action in your parking lot accident. While this is ample time to gather evidence and build your case, we encourage you to start as soon as possible.
Florida Parking Lot Accident
Any driver who hits your car is required by Florida law to stop and report the accident. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. You should take the following steps if your car was hit while it was parked:
- File a police report – a police report is mandatory in cases of hit and run crashes on public or private property.
- Take photos – photos can document the damage to your car and can help your car accident lawyer value your claim for compensation.
- Identify witnesses if possible – if your car was hit in your driveway or in front of your home, a neighbor may have seen the car that hit your car. If your car was hit in a parking lot or other public location, an observant passerby might have seen the at-fault driver or their vehicle.
- Call your insurance provider – if your car suffered extensive damage, report the damage to your insurer as soon as possible after it is discovered.
Speak to a car accident attorney as soon as possible once you discover the damage to your car. Share a copy of your crash report with an auto accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale as soon as possible.
A Parking Lot Accident Lawyer Help To Identify and Hold At-Fault Driver Liable
Unfortunately, some people leave after hitting parked cars. Identifying the driver who hit your car while parked can be extremely difficult on your own. It can sometimes be a futile pursuit. When you work with an auto accident lawyer, they may have investigators and other resources that can help locate the hit-and-run driver who damaged your car. A car accident attorney might also be able to locate and identify witnesses who can provide a description of the car that hit your car, the person who was driving the car, or a full or partial license plate number.
If your attorney cannot locate the responsible car owner or driver, they might be able to identify other ways to have your vehicle repaired or replaced.
We Help To Know Parking Lot Laws Florida
Car insurance is mandatory in Florida. When you purchase insurance protection for your car, you will be offered optional collision coverage. This coverage will repair or replace your damaged vehicle (you might still have to pay your insurance deductible).
Do Not Overlook Your Financial Compensation Options
If you are present when your car is hit, you likely know what to do and where to turn for financial recovery. When your car is hit while parked and unattended, an attorney can play an important role in uncovering every option you have for a monetary award.
Contact The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can take on your case and manage your fight for compensation. We can communicate with other parties and negotiate with them for a settlement for you that allows you to meet your needs.
There is always the possibility that the other driver in your parking lot accident can say the accident was your fault. Having a legal representative on your side can help you protect your rights and defend yourself against other claims.
Call our legal team member today at (954) 633-8270 to talk with us during a free, no-obligation case review. We treat our clients like family and offer prompt and responsive communication. We welcome your questions and invite you to learn more about our services and how we may be able to help you.