There are different complications for a person hit by a car in a parking lot than we see in other pedestrian collisions.
A pedestrian hit by a car in a parking lot is probably less likely to have fatal injuries than a person struck on the highway. That doesn’t mean the injuries aren’t terrible and very serious. The sheer size and weight of the average motor vehicle can cause internal damage, or a head injury, that is not immediately obvious. A person often does not realize they are physically hurt, until the shock and adrenaline wear off.
Also, depending on where the crash occurred, police might not respond or file a report. They might assume that a parking lot crash is not serious enough to warrant an investigation.
And while large shopping centers usually have cameras on their parking lots, not all preserve the footage. If they do, it may only be saved for a limited amount of time, like 30 days. This can be a complication in investigating the crash, and proving who is at fault.
The National Safety Council reports that there are around
50,000 parking lot crashes each year,
leading to 500 or more deaths and more than 60,000 injuries.
In the last couple of years, Coluccio Law has seen a big uptick in our pedestrian injury cases. These are some of causes and factors in a crash in which a pedestrian is hit by a car.
People are driving too fast
Speed is a big factor in almost all car crashes. We know that the faster the vehicle is traveling, the greater the impact when they strike an object (an object such as a human). A person is much more likely to die as a result of the collision if the car is traveling 50 mph instead of 10 mph.
Just recently, we represented a woman in Kirkland, Washington. She had been walking from her car to a restaurant in to meet up with friends. A driver accelerated across the parking lot, and struck her with his vehicle. She sustained multiple broken bones and a head injury.
Drivers don’t look when pulling in/out of parking lots
When a driver is making a left turn into parking lot, they usually speed up. And they aren’t always looking for people on the sidewalk across the entrance before they turn.
That’s how a person on the sidewalk across the entrance/exit to a busy parking lot gets hit by a car. These can be the among the most devastating of parking lot collisions, due to the vehicle speed.
People are distracted
This is always a given when we talk about crash causes. Pulling into a parking lot, a driver may be thinking about the errands they are about to do. They are looking for a parking spot. They may be watching for other vehicles, but not for people walking.
Another Coluccio Law client was hit in a parking lot on a rainy afternoon in Shoreline, Washington. Our client put her umbrella up and headed to the grocery store. She was cautious of traffic and stayed in the crosswalk, where she was struck by a truck driver.
Parking lots are poorly designed
Think about the parking lot at your local grocery or hardware store:
- Are there multiple entrances and exits to the lot?
- Are there clear signs and directions for drivers?
- Is there a clear path from a person’s car into the store?
- Are the walking paths unobstructed and well-lit?
To be clear, a driver who hits a pedestrian with a car in a parking lot is at fault. But sometimes, the design of the parking lot itself is a contributing factor.
Parking lots often don’t have safe places for pedestrians to cross. They might not have the proper signage for people walking, or for people driving.