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Parking Lot Collisions: Who’s At Fault?

Driving Tips
Jason Baxter

In a way, it’s amazing that there aren’t many more parking lot collisions. Parking lots don’t seem to have the traffic controls found on city streets. So vehicles often travel across lines, not stop at intersections, and even speed.

So it’s not surprising that an estimated 20% of vehicle collisions in Canada happen in parking lots. If there’s any good news, even if drivers travel faster than they should in a parking lot, speeds are significantly lower than they are on the street. That means a much lower chance of personal injury and much less vehicular damage.

Still, if you’ve had even minor collision repairs done to a vehicle recently, you know it can be very expensive. So, even if you get into a parking lot collision, it can be important to determine who’s at fault if repair charges will be high.

A Brief Explanation of No-Fault Insurance

The reason you should be concerned about who’s at fault in a parking lot collision has a lot to do with how no-fault insurance works. First, it doesn’t mean that no one is at fault. No-fault insurance really means that your insurance company will pay your claim, regardless of who is at fault. 

Insurance company adjusters will investigate a collision that involves an insurance claim to determine who is at fault

Sometimes, it’s clear who is the at-fault driver. In other cases, it may be determined that both parties are equally at fault. And still other collisions can be mostly the fault of one driver, but also partly the fault of the other driver. 

In many cases, your insurance rates may increase if you are found at fault. And the higher percentage of fault that you are deemed to have might mean a higher increase in your rates.

So Who’s at Fault in a Parking Lot Collision

Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding parking lot collisions. One of the most common is that they don’t need to be reported to the police. 

Just like the regulations surrounding reporting accidents on the road, you must immediately report parking lot collisions that involve personal injury, or that appear to involve damage to all vehicles that totals more than $2,000.

Similarly, the same rules of who is at fault in an accident on the road applies to parking lot collisions. 

The ‘Rules of the Road’ in Parking Lots

Another myth about driving in parking lots is that there are no rules. Here are just a few of the regulations used in determining who is at fault in a parking lot accident/.

  • All traffic signs must be obeyed
  • Vehicles travelling in feeder lanes have the right of way over vehicles entering or exiting parking spots, regardless of if the parking vehicles are entering the parking spot front first, or reversing in.
  • Regardless of where you are travelling, if you hit a legally parked car, you are at fault.

To learn more about what to do in a parking lot collision , or any collision, check out our article What To Do If You’ve Been In A Car Accident.


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