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Who Has the Right of Way When Backing Out of a Parking Space?

Published on Nov 22, 2021 at 4:52 pm in Auto Safety.

Bird's eye view parking lot

Parking lots can be confusing spaces. Whether they’re empty or packed, they always seem difficult to maneuver through because they’re tight lanes with so many spaces surrounding them. On top of that, there are so many obstacles to look out for—moving vehicles, people backing out, pedestrians, and objects like carts.

Since it can be so overwhelming in a parking lot, it can make it even more difficult to back out of your parking space. But what happens when you hit another car that’s driving through the lot while backing out? Who has the right of way? We have the answer.

Right of Way in Parking Lots

Driving through parking lots is often an overwhelming experience. Even though you have to drive through them to park at your destination, you might not know the rules related to the space, especially the right of way. So who has the right of way when someone is backing out of a parking space?

In most situations, the person who has the right of way in a parking lot is the person driving normally in the regular traffic pattern. This means the person backing out of the space usually does not have the right of way. This is because they are the one breaking the typical path of movement, which means they have to yield to people coming through the lot.

Right of way can get a bit more complicated with different situations. For example, if two cars are backing out at the same time and hit each other, which one had the right of way? If either of them were being negligent, like using their phone, then they’re likely the one at fault. Otherwise, it can be a bit harder to determine.

Additionally, if you’ve backed out because you thought the coast was clear, and another vehicle comes speeding through the lot, you could get into a crash. In this instance, the speeding driver would likely be at fault because you were nearly out of the space, and they were driving recklessly.

When pedestrians are involved, they usually have the right of way in parking lots. But as with the other situations above, if the pedestrian is being especially negligent, then they might hold some fault as well.

South Carolina Fault Laws

All of these scenarios fall back on fault. South Carolina is an at-fault state, which means they factor in negligence to a claim to determine who was at fault for the wreck and hold them liable. Comparative negligence laws mean that percentages of fault are calculated, and if you are deemed to be more at fault than the other driver, then you can’t recover compensation.

If the split was 50/50, then you could likely recover compensation. If you were more than 50 percent at fault, then you couldn’t recover compensation, but the amount the other party can recover will be reduced by the percentage they were at fault.

In parking lot accidents this means that they’ll look into who was being negligent or disrupting the flow of traffic in order to determine who was at fault. As mentioned, some situations can be more complicated, and so if more than one driver was negligent, then fault could be shared.

Having a car accident lawyer on your side after a parking lot accident can be essential so that you can determine exactly who or what caused your collision. Your lawyer will use camera footage and witness statements to figure out who was at fault and help you recover compensation for what you’ve been through.

What Causes Parking Lot Accidents

Knowing what causes parking lot accidents can help you understand fault in some situations. Even though drivers should be extra careful when driving through parking lots and backing out of spaces, they’re not. People get easily distracted and overwhelmed in parking lots, which can lead to accidents.

Here are some of the most common causes of parking lot accidents:

  • Speeding
  • Backing out of spaces
  • Blind spots
  • Ignoring signs and traffic signals
  • Distractions, like texting or calls
  • Drivers messing with the radio
  • Drivers paying more attention to looking for spots rather than their surroundings
  • Tight spaces
  • Fixed objects
  • Moving objects

When you are driving recklessly, distractedly, or failing to yield to the other driver with the right of way, then you could be liable for a wreck that happens. However, if you were paying attention and being as careful as possible in a parking lot and another negligent driver crashed into you, then you could use a lawyer.

The Solomon Law Group Has Experience Representing Victims

Fault can be complicated, especially in parking lot collisions. That’s where the help of a car accident lawyer can come into play. The Solomon Law Group understands complex collisions and how important it is to prove fault.

After a car wreck in South Carolina, whether it was in a parking lot or any other kind of road, our attorneys will help you collect evidence to prove the other party was at fault for what happened. Reach out to our office today so we can schedule a free consultation.

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