Parking Lot Collision
Many Georgia drivers use caution when driving in rain, hail, or other dangerous conditions. They know to use caution in heavy traffic or low lighting. Yet many careful drivers fail to use caution in one of the most dangerous driving settings. According to the National Safety Council, more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and structures every year. These accidents cause more than 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries every year. These numbers show just how dangerous a parking lot can be. But why exactly are parking lots so dangerous?The Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
There are many reasons why auto accidents are more likely to occur in parking lots that other locations. Unfortunately, many drivers simply do not pay attention. Like drivers on public roadways, they are often texting or otherwise distracted by mobile devices. Other drivers are simply too focused on finding a parking spot. This is especially dangerous in the close confines of a parking lot, where vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists are all on the move. Many parking lots and structures are not well-lit, further reducing a driver’s ability to safely navigate the lot. Other physical conditions can also contribute to accident rates: uneven surfaces, tight parking space designs, and narrow ramps can all make it difficult to drive safely in a parking lot. Finally, the lack of traffic laws can confuse drivers. Many parking lots do not even have simple directs or speed limits posted. This can make it difficult for drivers to know who has the right of way and can distract them from pedestrians or other vehicles in the roadway. All of these conditions can be a recipe for disaster.The Challenge of Bringing a Parking Lot Claim
Most parking lots are considered private property. Because of this, many law enforcement agencies will not respond to an accident that takes place in a parking lot (unless some secondary crime has occurred, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, or leaving the scene of an accident). Without a police report, it can be difficult to prove what, exactly, happened and who is at fault for the accident.
This does not mean that parking lot accident victims cannot be compensated for their injuries. In some cases, the physical evidence is obvious. For example, a smashed rear bumper on one vehicle paired with a broken front bumper on the other is evidence that one driver rear-ended the other, and is most likely at fault for the accident. In other cases, the at-fault driver is honest with their insurance company and admits that they were not paying attention or should have seen the victim. Here, too, liability can become clear.
Even if liability is unclear, you may still be able to pursue a claim for injuries sustained in a parking lot collision. This may require eyewitness testimony or evidence from an accident reconstruction expert. It might be possible to obtain surveillance camera footage of the collision. There are other ways to establish liability for a parking lot accident, and an experienced attorney will be able to help you find them.How to Calculate Lost Wages and Decreased Earning Potential
If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, the negligent driver must compensate you for any lost earnings that are attributable to the accident. Many victims lose some time off work immediately after the accident as they recover from their injuries. This is generally a simple calculation of the number of hours missed times the employee’s hourly rate. If the employee is paid on a set salary, his or her hourly rate can be calculated by prorating the salary over a 40 hour work week.
Some victims have more serious injuries that permanently impair their ability to earn a living. Permanent injuries can, for example, prevent an employee from working a full-time schedule. Other workers might have to take restricted job duties at a reduced rate of pay. In both cases, the employee is left with a reduced earning potential as the result of the defendant’s negligence. The defendant is responsible for compensating this loss. In such a case, the loss will be calculated as the difference between the injury victim’s average earning capacity before the accident and after the accident. This calculation can become complicated - especially when the worker’s earnings varied greatly before the accident, or there is a dispute about the injury victim’s ability to work after the accident. In such cases, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can fight for your right to be compensated for your lost earning capacity. They will advise you on the best methods of proving the extent of your disability, as well as your ability to work with your injuries.
In the most serious cases, a worker might be unable to return to work at all. Defendants who cause such severe injuries have an obligation to compensate the wages the injured worker would have earned for the rest of his or her life. As you might imagine, insurance companies are reluctant to pay such large amounts. They will often challenge the disability, or question whether the employee might be able to return to a less physically demanding type of work. Here, too, it is important to have an experienced attorney fighting for your right to be compensated for your permanent loss of earning capacity. Your legal interest in this compensation is significant because the amount is significant. And the more significant the amount of compensation, the harder the insurance company will fight to avoid paying it.Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Parking Lot Accident
If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, you need someone fighting for your rights and defending you from insurance company tactics. At Slappey & Sadd, our Georgia car accident lawyers can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call 404.255.6677 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today. Our experienced attorneys have extensive experience in protecting the rights of accident victims across Georgia. Trust us to handle your claim properly so that you can focus on your recovery.