Private parking lots often become obstacle courses for drivers. They are usually filled with heavy vehicle traffic moving in and out parking spots, turning from every which angle, and inattentive pedestrians looking down at their phones or shopping lists, the ingredients for car wrecks.
As a car accident lawyer, I often receive calls from victims of private parking lot wrecks. The beginning of the conversation usually begins with the individual saying something to the effect of: “My mom/friend/co-worker said that because my accident happened in a private parking lot, I can’t make the other driver’s insurance company pay for my damages.” A recent call prompted this article, which provides information debunking that misconception.
I. What Are My Rights in a Parking Lot Car Wreck?
Although many Louisiana statues regulating motor vehicles on public roadways don’t apply to motor vehicles on private lots, Louisiana courts have imposed duties on motorists driving in private parking lots. For instance, motorists traveling in private parking lots must use “due caution” by being attentive and maintaining a slow driving speed while driving through and backing up in private parking lots. Therefore, if someone driving at a fast pace in a parking lot hits you, that person and his insurance company will likely be held liable for your damages. Among many other circumstances, the same would be true if someone wrecks into you because he/she is distracted by something else (e.g. phone).
II. Do Officer’s Even Respond to a Parking Lot Car Wreck?
Another common misconception is that law enforcement officers are told not to respond and never do respond to calls involving parking lot car wrecks. However, local law enforcement agencies are encouraged by the State of Louisiana to respond and usually do respond to such calls. In fact, most local agencies have crash report forms designed specifically for parking lot wrecks. Those forms are used during the local agency’s investigation of the crash scene, to record key facts relating to the circumstances surrounding the car wreck, names of drivers involved, vehicle information, each driver’s insurance policies, and etc.
III. Other Implications
Furthermore, under Louisiana law, motorists are required to maintain the minimum automobile liability insurance while operating a motor vehicle, whether on public roadways or private lots, to cover damages from any at-fault wrecks of the motorist. If a law enforcement officer learns that one involved has no automobile liability insurance, the officer can cite that individual for not having insurance.
Lastly, if you operate your vehicle unsafely on a private lot, you could be cited for violating the Louisiana “Reckless Operation of a Vehicle Statute.” Because that statute is a criminal statute, it is applicable everywhere, including private parking lots.
The Russell Law Firm represents injured clients involved in private parking lot car wrecks and those with underinsured/uninsured motorist claims throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.
Our firm is experienced and highly skilled in handling private parking lot car wreck and uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. If you or someone you know has been involved in a private lot car wreck in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, make the Right Call, Right Now and contact Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Russell Law Firm today at 225-307-0088. We will take a hands-on, aggressive approach towards getting you compensated for your losses.
**Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.
By: Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.
****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.