A parking lot presents a higher probability of being involved in an accident than other roadways or highways, particularly in winter when the asphalt is covered with ice and snow. The accidents themselves typically aren’t severe given the travel speeds, but it’s still important to be extra mindful. It doesn’t take a massive accident to cause extensive damage to your vehicle these days.
The questions that we always get asked is, who’s at fault if more than one vehicle is involved? Every driver always seems to believe that their driving behavior wasn’t the cause of the accident, however its common in most cases if both vehicles are in motion the fault is determined to be 50/50. Any accident deemed to be over 25% at-fault is considered an at-fault accident, and it will impact your driving records.
Parking lots aren’t designed under the overview of the Ontario government and they aren’t covered under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. So while charges may not be laid by police officers, there may be charges under other Federal or Municipal laws. As far as the fault determination (the part that may affect your insurance rates), insurance companies all use the Fault Determination Charts as outlined in the Ontario Insurance Act, so everyone is treated fairly.
Common parking lot accidents
- If you back out of or into a parking space and hit a parked car, you are at fault.
- If you hit a legally parked car, you are at fault.
- If you hit an open door of a parked car, the owner of the parked car is at fault.
- If two vehicles both back into each other while leaving a parking spot, both may be at fault.
- Vehicles travelling on a main traffic pathway have the right of way over those coming from feeder lanes
- If the person driving drove recklessly and damaged your car or almost hit you as a pedestrian, they may be charged by police under the appropriate legal code.
- If you back out onto a feeder lane or thoroughfare and another car hits yours, while you’re backing out, you are at fault.
What you should do after a parking lot accident
- Most importantly, check that everyone involved in the accident is okay.
- Take pictures of the vehicles before moving them.
- Get the other drivers information such as their drivers license number and insurance provider.
- Contact your HMS broker if its during business hours, visit our claims page, or contact your insurer directly.
Parking lot accidents can be a tricky situation to navigate. Do you go through insurance or do you pay for it out of pocket? There are benefits and negatives to both options, so getting advice from your insurance broker is a great first step. Your broker can analyze multiple scenarios and determine the best option for you.