DC Parking Lot Accident Factors

Parking lot accidents are unique in that they typically deal with pedestrians where they are struck by motor vehicles. Parking lots are a necessary reality where many people are operating their motor vehicle and many other people are traveling through the parking lot as a pedestrian.

When people are in very close proximity to one another, there is a higher propensity for a collision to occur. Likewise, when a person enters a parking lot, they could be distracted by looking for a parking space rather than looking where they are going, then there is also an increased probability of a collision.

There are many important factors of DC parking lot accidents to be aware of, such as rules for safe driving, and negligence standards. An experienced parking lot accident attorney can be very helpful in explaining these considerations.

Rules of Safe Driving

Speed does not play a factor in DC parking lot accidents in terms of changing the rules. People are required to operate a motor vehicle at a safe speed given the conditions that exist at that particular time. This is true whether it is on a highway during a warm, sunny day, or on a highway during a snowy day, or within a congested parking lot.

Speed is only a factor when a person is not conforming their speed to the conditions that exist at that time. The mere fact that someone may be traveling faster or slower in and of itself is not a factor in evaluating a motor vehicle collision; it is the speed as compared to the conditions that exist at that time in that particular location that goes into evaluation of whether a person is negligent in the operation of a motor vehicle.

Unique Response

Even though an accident occurs on private property, the response is typically the same. For example, if a person’s house is burning down, the fire department would respond to the scene and put it out just as they would if it were a state, or federal, or public building of some kind.

Unless it is a secure government facility which would not allow outside law enforcement on it, then the interior law enforcement would investigate that and take the necessary steps, but simply because an accident occurs in a DC parking lot does not preclude local law enforcement from responding to the scene and investigating.

There is not particularly a potential role of the property owner in the response, not unless there is something about the parking lot that caused or contributed to the accident. If the parking lot should have been cleared of snow by the time the collision occurred or something like that, then perhaps, but generally speaking, the parking lot owner would not be a factor in a DC parking lot accident.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a factor in parking lot accidents in DC because in a situation where two motor vehicles or even a motor vehicle and a pedestrian collide, the primarily negligent party has the opportunity to assert an affirmative defense of contributory negligence whereby the primarily negligent party or the defendant would present proof or evidence that the injured party somehow contributed or caused to their injuries.

In DC, it is a contributory negligence jurisdiction, so if the judge or jury finds that the injured person caused or contributed to their injury to even 1%, then as a matter of law, the injured person is barred from recovery.

Negligence Claim Process

A typical claim of contributory negligence in a DC parking lot accident case would be when one person is backing out of a parking spot and their vehicle is struck by a vehicle who was passing by their rear of the vehicle. The person backing out of the parking spot may be injured in that scenario and assert a claim against the vehicle which struck it.

In that situation, the vehicle passing by in the aisle will assert an affirmative defense of contributory negligence by saying that the person who was backing out was simply not looking where they were going. Had they been looking where they were going as they were backing out of the parking spot, they would have stopped and allowed the vehicle to pass by safely behind. If the judge or jury finds that the vehicle backing out of the parking spot caused or contributed to their injury, then the injured party or parties cannot recover.