Car accidents can happen anywhere, even somewhere as seemingly harmless as a parking lot.

Parking lot accidents are usually low speed and don’t result in injuries, unless the accident involves a pedestrian. However, they can result in significant property damage. Who is liable when a car accident in a parking lot takes place?

In this post, we’ll explain how Missouri assigns fault in car crashes and the specific factors that determine fault in parking lot accidents.

Missouri is an at-fault state

This means that the driver who is responsible for causing the accident is also responsible for paying for damages and injuries resulting from the accident.

When determining fault, Missouri courts apply the legal doctrine of negligence, which means that a person who breaches a duty of care owed to others and causes harm is liable for the damages that result.

In other words, drivers have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care when driving, and they can be held liable if they fail to do so and cause an accident.

In Missouri, drivers can be assigned a percentage of fault in a case. For example, if one driver is found to be 60 percent at fault and the other is found to be 40 percent at fault, they will be responsible for their respective shares of the damages.

Who is at fault in parking lot accidents?

There are a few different kinds of car accidents that can take place in parking lots. In each of them, the driver who fails to exercise their duty of care will be found to be liable.

We’ll break down some specifics below.

Right turn crashes in parking lots

One of the most common types of parking lot accidents is a right turn crash. This occurs when a driver turning right hits another vehicle or pedestrian that is traveling straight or turning left.

In most cases, the driver making the right turn is at fault for the accident because they have a duty to yield to other vehicles and pedestrians. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the other driver was speeding or ran a stop sign, they may be partially or wholly at fault for the accident.

Left turn crashes in parking lots

These occur when a driver turning left hits another vehicle or pedestrian that is traveling straight or turning right.

In general, the driver making the left turn is at fault for the accident because they have a duty to yield to oncoming traffic. However, like with right turns, the other driver can be found at least partially at fault if they were speeding, ignored traffic signs or were otherwise driving unsafely.

If someone backs into your car, who is at fault?

Another common type of parking lot accident is when someone backs into another car.

In these cases, fault is often less clear, and it can lead both drivers to claim that the other was responsible for the accident. However, there are some general rules that can help determine who is at fault.

If one vehicle has already started to back out of their parking space, they have the right of way and any oncoming vehicles should yield. Likewise, if an oncoming vehicle is passing and a parked car begins to back out of its space and hits the passing car, the driver of the backing car is at fault, because they have a duty of care to look for oncoming vehicles.

In the case of a “simultaneous backup,” where it isn’t as clear which car came first, it can be very difficult to assign fault, and depending on the facts of the case, it’s possible that both drivers will be held liable for a partial role in the accident.

Pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents in parking lots are also common and can be very serious.

Drivers have a duty to watch for pedestrians and yield to them. If a driver hits a pedestrian in a parking lot, they are almost always at fault for the accident.

However, pedestrians also have a duty to exercise reasonable care and avoid walking in front of moving vehicles. For example, if a pedestrian is intoxicated, fails to pay sufficient attention or walks in a prohibited area, they may be partially at fault for the accident.

Get legal help today

If you have been involved in a parking lot accident in Missouri, it is important to seek legal advice from a skilled qualified car accident attorney.

Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse is a highly experienced personal injury law firm with two of the 2022 list of Best Lawyers as well as a Top 50 and Top 100 lawyer in the area of plaintiff’s personal injury by Super Lawyers Magazine. 

Our attorneys have helped numerous clients in Missouri recover compensation for their injuries and damages resulting from parking lot accidents. We can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Call us today for a free case evaluation – 314-241-1919.



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