There is a common misperception in parking lots that because pedestrians and drivers are moving slowly, no major damage could be done in a car crash. Even at slow speeds, though, any type of car accident might be extremely dangerous since preoccupied motorists and distracted pedestrians who veer into each other commonly suffer serious injuries.
If you are hurt in a car or pedestrian accident that takes place in a parking lot, getting help from an Oak Lawn parking lot accident lawyer may be warranted no matter how minor the situation seems. A seasoned personal injury attorney who is familiar with Illinois civil tort laws could make a huge difference if you choose to pursue financial compensation.
Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Accident
Parking lot accidents often occur on private property, which often means insurance companies become the final arbiters of who is liable for damages. Under these circumstances, injured plaintiffs may be responsible for getting the other party’s information and testimonies from witnesses if they want to prove they were not at fault.
Negligence could be difficult to prove in parking lot accidents, especially if traffic lanes are not well marked or are poorly designed. For instance, lanes may not be clearly designated and may cause confusion for all drivers.
From the insurance company’s point of view, several factors may be considered when determining liability in a parking lot accident. If a driver backing out of a parking space ends up in a collision, they may likely be blamed for the accident if they failed to yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
In other circumstances, liability for an accident in a parking lot may not be attributed to just one party. In certain situations, both parties may share liability with varying percentages of fault. For example, if someone struck by a vehicle backing out of a parking space was texting while driving, they could be held partially at fault for damages under 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2, which prohibits that specific behavior behind the wheel.
How Insurance Companies Determine Fault
Insurance companies often take statements and review damage to all vehicles, drivers, and/or pedestrians involved in a parking lot accident in order to determine fault. Parking lots may be subject to a variety of fault determination rules, which are predetermined guidelines by which insurance companies may quickly determine who is liable for a crash.
However, victims may also appeal the insurance company’s decision if they do not believe that they are at fault. To do so effectively, though, it may be necessary to enlist the services of a skilled Oak Lawn parking lot accident attorney.
The Statute of Limitations in Oak Lawn
The phrase “statute of limitations” refers to the strict time limit that an injured victim has to file a lawsuit in court. In Illinois parking lot accident cases, a plaintiff may have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injuries and five years to file for vehicle damage only.
If a plaintiff does not at least start the filing process before the deadline passes, the defendant can raise the motion to dismiss the case. As a result, the plaintiff may lose the opportunity to recover damages permanently, unless a rare exception applies to extend the deadline. An Oak Lawn parking lot accident lawyer could help ensure an individual does not miss this or any other deadline relevant to their case.
Working with an Oak Lawn Parking Lot Attorney
The tight parking spaces and heavy pedestrian foot traffic in parking lots might create dangerous and potentially deadly situations. Even at low speeds, a collision could result in significant injuries, chronic pain and suffering, and loss of wages due to missed time at work.
If you were injured in a parking lot accident, you may not have to handle inquiries from insurance companies and a potential lawsuit for damages alone. Consulting with a knowledgeable Oak Lawn parking lot accident lawyer could put you on a path toward recovering the damages you may be owed and protecting your rights. To have your case evaluated in a complimentary consultation, call today.