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Who’s at Fault in a Parking Lot Accident?

It’s not only the roadways where you have to be mindful of how you drive. Parking lots are hazardous for collisions too, particularly in winter when they might be covered with ice and snow.

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 OPP officers, there may be charges under other Federal or Municipal laws. Further, the location of the accident has no effect on fault determination for insurance purposes.

Sometimes drivers forget the rules of driving when they’re in a parking area.

A parking lot is private property and you must obey the posted signs. Some locations such as a mall or plaza parking lot may have stated rules about its use, and some property owners will have police handle issues/accidents on the property.

More Serious than a Door Dent

Here are some common events that occur in parking lots:

  1. If you back out of or into a parking space and hit a parked car, you are at fault
  2. If you hit a legally parked car, you are at fault
  3. If you hit an open door of a parked car, the owner of the parked car is at fault.
  4. If two vehicles both back into each other while leaving a parking spot, both may be at fault
  5. Vehicles travelling on a main traffic pathway have the right of way over those coming from feeder lanes
  6. 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.
  7. If you back out onto a feeder lane or thoroughfare and another car hits yours, while you’re backing out, you are considered at fault.

What should You do in Case of a Parking Lot Accident?

Check that the occupants of the other vehicle are okay

Take a picture of the vehicles with your cellphone before you move them. If damage is above $1000 then you can move the cars to a safer spot out of traffic, but you must contact police immediately. If it’s under $1000, then you should write down the other driver’s license number, name and his insurance policy and license plate number.

Never trust the other driver, since they may leave the scene or they may ask to you to not report it. Don’t agree to their interpretation of events or take responsibility.

You should contact your insurer right away since under no fault insurance, your insurer will be paying the damage claim.

Write down what happened that caused the accident and what you were doing. This is taken into account in determining insurance liability.

No legal charges may be laid and therefore no demerit points or fines, depending on how you or the other driver operated your vehicle.

To learn more about driver responsibility for different accident scenarios, take a look at the detailed guide produced by IBC.

Have you seen those surreptitious red light cameras they place at intersections around Markham and Richmond Hill? Drivers are getting caught running red lights. It’s a serious mistake. If you’re caught by an OPP officer, you could be facing charges, demerit points, and a fine.  With red light cameras, you’ll be looking at a fine of $325, however your insurance and driver’s record won’t be affected.

Are you a college student without renter’s insurance? Find out why you should carry a policy. It’s not expensive.

Will collision detection equipment help lower your insurance rates? Are you a bad driver or one who texts and drives? Inevitably, it will catch up to you. Find out how insurance companies set rates and how you can lower yours.

5 thoughts on “7 Things You Need to Know About Parking Lot Accidents

  1. Thanks for the info. I work with a bunch of special INDIVIDUALS who pretty much think that it’s a free for all in a parking lot.

  2. Hi
    Im a pedestrian that always gets nearly hit in parking lots.
    Usually when walking from parking lot to train platform or to the grocery store. Or at a crosswalk when cars are turning left through it.
    Or i get almost hit by high speed bicycle couriers running yellow lights.

    I swear im a virus the city is trying to irradicate

    If i take their license plate should i call the police with it? Or will they laugh it off?

  3. So under no fault of my own, My insurer pays for my damaged parked car and increases my rates because of someone else?

  4. A person in a parking lot with an open door is at fault of someone pulls in and hits their door? That seems wrong to me. The vehicle parking is moving and hits a parked car? And parked car is at fault when there was no even present? What if it was a small child opening the door? Driver should notice this while scoping out parking spot and use due diligence. I would take that one to court and fight tooth and nail.

  5. Pingback: Whose Car Insurance Pays if My Car Door Hits Another Car? - StingyPig.ca

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