- The Unexpected Risks You Take When You Use a Public Parking Lot
The Unexpected Risks You Take When You Use a Public Parking Lot
The Michigan personal injury attorneys at Mike Morse Law Firm don’t have a guaranteed monopoly on winning, but they do know quite a bit about how to help folks involved in parking lot accidents win big legal settlements in personal injury cases.
Consider, for instance, a recent case where a client was injured by an inattentive negligent driver in a local parking lot. Mike Morse Law Firm accident attorney Shawn McKay definitely created a winning outcome by delivering his grateful client a six-figure settlement through a combination of intelligent legwork and solid research.
In a nutshell, here’s how it happened:
A 64-year-old woman was leaving a Southfield, MI, parking lot when she was struck by a negligent driver who failed to yield the right of way. The victim called the police and asked them to come to the scene of the accident to determine fault and file a report. Unfortunately, the police would not come because the accident had taken place on private property. Nevertheless, she wisely made a police report in person the same day. Amazingly, a few days later, the driver who hit her filed a separate police complaint naming our client as the person at fault!
“When we got the case,” Mr. McKay recalls, “I drove to the scene and watched vehicles drive through the parking lot. It was clear to me that the negligent driver was 100% at fault for causing the crash. I took the negligent driver’s deposition, and when the case was presented, it was easy to show that he was 100% at fault.”
Mr. McKay went on to mention that he feels this case was made more complicated because the police had not been at the crash scene to take drivers’ statements.
“Had police shown up to the scene, they would have clearly seen the defendant was at fault. That’s why it is important to hire the right lawyer in one of these situations right away,” he says.
Or how about another case, which is still in litigation? A female customer was walking toward her car after leaving a local shoe store. Ironically, she was hit by a vehicle driven by a medical doctor, who tried (unsuccessfully) to flee the scene! While the outcome of this hit and run accident case is yet to be determined, you can imagine how the jury will react when they see the body of evidence which will be gathered and presented by the Mike Morse Law Firm legal team.
The take-away from both these incidents is that parking lots are danger zones not only for drivers, but also for pedestrians who are experiencing unnecessary risk when inattentive motorists are nearby.
What to do if you are involved in a parking lot accident
Most parking lot accidents are not severe, although a recent fatality in Monroe County, where a pedestrian was hit and wrongfully killed by a semi-truck demonstrates they can still be catastrophic. However, there are some steps you can take to protect your rights if you’re unfortunate enough to have an experience like those of the clients we’ve assisted.
First, regardless of the jurisdiction where your accident takes place, be sure to call the local police and ask for an emergency response. In many cases, they will be able to help you by taking a report and assisting if medical care is needed. But even if their policy is not to respond to accidents that occur away from public roadways, or if they decide not to file an official report, it’s important to take this initial step in documenting your injuries and having a legal record of any damages to your property.
Second, be sure to take photos of any personal injuries or property damage. Cell phone photos are useful in establishing the time and place of what happened and can become crucial in proving facts if it becomes necessary to take your case to court. Also, ask any witnesses for their contact information and, if they’re willing, ask them to help you document what happened using their own cell phones.
Third, contact your insurance company. If the damage is minor, and no one is injured, you might be able to recover some of the cost to repair your vehicle through Michigan’s “mini-tort” rules. Furthermore, your collision coverage under no-fault insurance could also come into play if needed.
Finally, Anthony Chapman, Mike Morse Law Firm’s senior intake attorney, recommends immediately filing an incident report with the owner/tenant of the commercial property where the accident occurred — regardless of whether the police respond. Mike Morse Law Firm car accident attorneys can help with this by officially contacting the property owner on your behalf. That way you can help ensure the owner will preserve any security camera recordings they might have of the accident. Video footage can go a long way toward proving your case and helping secure the settlement you deserve.
Of course, the best way to stay safe is not to have a parking lot accident at all. For tips on how to avoid becoming involved in a collision while parking, Texas-based Reliable Paving (a company specializing in parking lot design, construction and repair) offers some helpful, common-sense ideas for drivers, including one very obvious piece of advice: Look behind your car when backing out. Sure, your back-up camera can be helpful, but many cameras don’t have the same peripheral vision capabilities as our eyes, so it’s always good practice to turn your head both ways when leaving a parking space. Drivers crossing behind your car are looking for open parking spaces, so they might not see your moving car if they’re fixated on an empty space just beyond your vehicle.
Call on dependable legal professionals when you need help
Needless to say, if the worst happens and you’re bumped by an inattentive driver while walking or driving in a parking lot, the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Mike Morse Law Firm are ready to ensure that your rights are respected and that you are compensated appropriately. Call us at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or get in touch with us online. We’re here for you day or night, seven days a week 365 days a year.