A busy parking lot can be a perilous place. Cars are constantly on the move, backing in and out of spaces and driving up and down aisles to find an empty spot. At the same time, people are continuously going to and from their vehicles, many of whom are distracted by children or cell phones. While many parking lot accidents result in nothing worse than dented bumpers or damaged car doors, some of these crashes cause major vehicle damage and serious injuries. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates more than 500 people die and another 60,000 are injured every year in parking lots or garage structures.
Here is a guide to protecting your rights if you are injured in a Detroit parking lot accident.
Because there are numerous types of parking lot accidents, determining liability is often a challenge. The applicable laws and available insurance benefits may vary according to the circumstances. Injury accidents are treated differently than those involving only vehicle damage. In addition, many parking lots are on private property. If a crash occurs because of poor maintenance or unsafe conditions, the parking lot owner and the at-fault driver could be responsible.
Furthermore, even with Michigan No-Fault insurance, recovering medical expenses and other damages is complicated. For example, victims with lower levels of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage may be able to sue the at-fault driver for excess medical costs as well as intangible damages such as pain and suffering. However, Michigan No-Fault is a complicated system, with many rules and exceptions. Therefore, hiring a reputable Detroit parking lot accident attorney is the best way to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Under Michigan law, any accident where someone is injured or killed or there is vehicle or property damage of $1,000 or more must be reported to police. Additionally, a police report is required in order to file an insurance claim for repair costs.
If your car was damaged while you were inside a store or building and the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown, obtain a police report in the jurisdiction where the damage occurred.
Many of us have been unpleasantly surprised by a freshly dented bumper or smashed tail light. Unfortunately, there are people who feel entitled to hit another car and drive away without leaving a note or attempting to find the owner.
If this happens, take the following steps:
However, if you do not have collision coverage and cannot identify the driver, you are responsible for the repair costs.
Recommended reading: How To Handle A Hit-and-Run Accident In Michigan
If you saw the accident, or the driver waited for you to return to the vehicle, obtain the following information:
If the driver left a note, call or email and ask for the above information.
If witnesses are present, get their names and contact information.
Take photos of your car and the other vehicle, including close-ups of any damage.
You may be able to file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver vehicle for Property Protection Insurance (PPI) benefits, which is part of every Michigan No-Fault insurance policy. Coverage includes repair costs and expenses resulting from being unable to use your car, such as a rental.
Recommended reading: Michigan Car Accident Laws: Your Questions Answered
Unlike parking lot accidents where a driver hits an unoccupied vehicle, the rules are different when someone hits a car when the driver and/or passengers are inside. Typically, those situations follow the same Michigan No-Fault laws that apply to motor vehicle accidents on streets or highways.
Here are the steps to take if you (or your passengers) were inside a car that is hit by another vehicle:
Many injuries do not show up immediately, and you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver if an accident-related condition is subsequently discovered. Additionally, a UD-10 Traffic Crash Report is required to file an insurance claim for repair costs.
Some conditions take days, weeks or even months to develop. If asked, say you will have to see your doctor before you can determine the extent of your injuries.
Repair costs for accidents involving occupied vehicles are not covered by the at-fault driver’s Property Protection Insurance (PPI). However, Michigan No-Fault includes a mini tort law that provides up to $3,000 (for accidents occurring after July 1, 2020) for vehicle damage in certain situations.
Insurance companies often raise premium rates after an accident, even when the insured driver is not at fault. Therefore, it may be better to pay for minor repairs yourself or request reimbursement from the at-fault driver.
If you or a loved one is injured in a parking lot accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable legal team knows what it takes to win your case, and we have the expertise and resources to win the compensation you deserve.
Car accident law is complicated, but finding the right car accident lawyer is simple.
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