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Michigan Parking Lot Accident Law

What You Should Know About Michigan Parking Lot Accident Laws

January 24, 2020

Many of us have experienced the perils of the parking lot. For example, the drugstore check-out line was long, and now you’re running late to pick up your kids. As you hurry to your car, you notice a large dent in your rear bumper that wasn’t there before. There is no note on your windshield, nor is anyone waiting to claim responsibility for the damage. Another example, you are slowly backing out of your parking space when a car speeds down the aisle and crashes into the side of your car. Unfortunately, these aggravating and often costly scenarios are all too common. Here’s what you need to know about Michigan parking lot accident laws.

Who is responsible for a parking lot accident?

There is no single law that applies to all types of parking lot accidents. In most cases, the laws and insurance coverage vary according to the circumstances. Generally, if you are injured, you are covered under your Michigan no-fault policy. Additionally, Michigan has a mini-tort law that provides up to $1,000 for vehicle damage in certain situations. However, no-fault is a complicated system, and there are many exceptions. Therefore, if you are injured, you should contact an experienced Michigan accident attorney to explain and protect your rights.

Many parking lots are on private property. Nonetheless, you must call the police whenever someone is injured or there is vehicle or property damage greater than $1,000. 

Here are the most common types of parking lot accidents: 

Your car was damaged while you were inside a store or building

Many parking lot accidents are “hit-and-runs,” where someone damages your car and drives away without leaving a note. If this happens, this is what you should do:

  • If anyone is in the area, ask if they saw the incident.
  • Find out if the building or store has surveillance cameras that might have recorded the accident.
  • Take photos of the damage to your car.
  • Record the location of the parking lot, the time you arrived, and the time you discovered the damage.
  • If you have collision coverage as part of your Michigan no-fault policy, call your insurance company to make a claim. However, you may want to pay for minor repairs out of pocket to avoid a potential rate increase.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have collision coverage and can’t identify the driver, you are responsible for the repair costs under Michigan parking lot accident laws.

You damage an unoccupied car in a parking lot

  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident, even if the other driver is not present.
  • If the lot is outside a single store, go inside and try to locate the owner of the car.
  • In parking lots outside large office buildings or shopping malls, leave a note on the vehicle’s windshield. Include your name and contact information.
  • Take photos of the damage and document the location and exact time of the incident. 

You have a parking lot accident that involves a moving vehicle

  • Call for an ambulance if emergency medical treatment is needed.
  • Call the police if anyone is injured or there is vehicle or property damage exceeding $1,000.
  • Exchange information with the other driver, including:
    • Names and contact information (phone, address and email)
    • Drivers’ license numbers
    • Vehicle makes, models and license plate numbers
    • Insurance information
  • Get statements and/or contact information from witnesses.
  • Record the date, time and location of the accident.
  • Take photos of both vehicles.

You are injured in a parking lot accident

  • Call 911 if you need emergency medical help.
  • Call the police to report the accident.
  • Exchange contact information with the other driver.
  • Document the accident with photos and record the location, date and time.
  • Get statements or contact information from witnesses.
  • Do not discuss the accident with the other driver.
  • Never admit fault, even if you think you caused the accident.
  • Do not talk about your injuries or say you are fine. Some conditions don’t become apparent for days or weeks. If asked, say you will have to see your doctor before you can determine the extent of your injuries.
  • Contact a lawyer experienced in Michigan parking lot accident laws as soon as possible.

Michigan auto accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Sources:

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/2017-11-06/how-to-handle-a-parking-lot-accident

https://www.fox17online.com/2017/12/11/know-the-law-crashes-in-parking-lots

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(hu512x10cc3ooqlvwkxa2syf))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-257-622

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