Considering the number of licensed vehicles in the UK in 2021 was about 39 million, including 32 million cars, it is not surprising that motorists often get caught up in car park accidents. However, such incidents are probably more common than you might think.
A report by Accident Exchange back in 2014 found that approximately 1,400 car park accidents occur every day across the UK, that is over half a million incidents annually. And when you consider that the number of cars being driven tends to increase year-on-year, the accident numbers occurring now are likely to be even higher.
Although many of these prangs happen at slow speeds and result in minor dents or scratches on vehicles, sometimes there are injuries sustained as well.
If you or a loved one were injured at a parking facility of any kind in the last three years, and someone else was to blame, then it may be possible to file a car park accident claim. Any compensation that you would receive from the process could help to cover medical costs and other financial burdens brought on by the incident.
In this guide, you will learn more about car park accident claims. From establishing fault to proving negligence, we’ve covered all the essential points that you need to know.
Who Is At Fault For Car Park Accidents?
Anyone that uses a car park, and even those in charge of running the facility, can be liable for causing harm to others. Each party also has a duty of care. Depending on the circumstances of an accident, blame could fall on:
Drivers have a responsibility not only for their vehicles, but also to other car park users and passengers they are carrying.
Failing to use all mirrors to check for anyone walking by, oncoming traffic, blind spots, or signals from other cars, only increases the odds of causing an accident before parking up or driving off. That is why the Highway Code requires motorists to double-check that the way is clear before driving away from a parked position.
If a driver hits a pedestrian or collides with another vehicle in a car park, they could be found guilty of reckless driving.
Keep in mind, though, establishing fault between two motorists in a car park accident comes down to which vehicle was on the move and who had the right of way.
2. Car Park Operators
It is the responsibility of any car park owner or operator to keep their facility in the best possible working condition. Part of this involves putting measures in place to mitigate any potential safety hazards.
Therefore, if you were involved in an accident because a private or public car park did not have proper signage for hazards, or had potholes or pavements in disrepair that led to a slip, trip or fall, then you may well be able to hold them liable for your injuries.
Pedestrians also have a duty of care when walking in and around a car park. For instance, it would be reckless to avoid the pavements and instead walk directly into the main driving lanes that the cars use to access, park or leave the car parking facility.
Not only does this put the pedestrian at risk but may also prompt evasive actions by the driver, which could cause an accident and injury to the driver, passengers, or other parked motorists.
Additionally, passengers have a duty to act appropriately in a car. For instance, it is wrong to distract the driver or open the doors when another vehicle is backing up into an adjacent parking bay. Such negligent acts can lead to a passenger being held partly liable for a car park accident.
What Kinds Of Car Park Accidents Would Qualify For A Claim?
When people think of car park accidents, the first thing that probably comes to mind is vehicles bumping into each other.
However, that is not always the case. There are a variety of accidents that can occur in such a setting, some of which have already been mentioned. The list below describes the most common examples that can lead to a claim, but others may also occur.
- When two vehicles back into one another whilst pulling out of their respective spaces
- A motorist hitting a pedestrian in the car park
- Injuries sustained by anyone walking through a poorly maintained car park or persons working at the facility
- Failure by operators or owners to put up warning signs about safety hazards
- Not fixing faulty car park barrier arms, potholes, and uneven pavements
- Cars colliding because of tiny parking bays or driver error
As long as you are not to blame for the car park accident, you have a right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering if another party is found liable.
In some cases, though, there could be a degree of shared responsibility and negligence where multiple parties are legally bound to compensate for damage to vehicles and/or injuries.
A good example could be when faulty automatic gates and car park barriers cause an incident. If guilty of negligence, both the manufacturer and car park operator could take the blame in such a case.
How Do I Prove Negligence For A Car Park Accident?
Whether it is at a supermarket, outside a pub, or inside a multi-storey parking garage, anyone can seek compensation regardless of the type of facility where an accident occurs. For the claim to be successful, however, proving that another party is to blame is vital.
Evidence that can support your claim may include footage from CCTV cameras, dashcam video recordings, eyewitness statements, as well as incriminating photos showing the accident scene.
No matter how minor, it is essential to get medical treatment for any injuries that you may incur. Get checked by your GP for the sake of your wellbeing at the very least.
It is important to note that seeking treatment is also part of the overall evidence-gathering process. It will facilitate the creation of a medical report that documents your medical care after the accident and any specified recovery period, along with any long term issues you may face due to the injury.
It is also prudent for victims of car park accidents to provide a full written account of the incident. Once you feel well, make this a priority or find a friend or loved one to help you with this process. In-depth descriptions of when, where, how, and why the accident happened will go a long way towards proving negligence when pursuing compensation.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect From A Car Park Accident Claim?
People seeking compensation for a car park accident would naturally want to know how much they would be awarded upon making a successful claim. However, we are unable to give a definite answer to this question, because each case is considered entirely on its own merits.
That said, it helps to know what areas of compensation you can claim for, so that you get the full amount due to you from the guilty party.
Generally, you can claim for the following types of compensation as a result of a car park accident that was not your fault.
The amount awarded in this category considers how severe the injuries are and the impact they have had on your life.
It should cover pain and suffering, the mental trauma of your injuries, as well as any ongoing medical, physical or emotional issues that are as a direct result of the incident. The medical report forms much of the evidence in this category, and influences the final decision when it comes to the compensation amount paid out for general damages.
An accident can not only have an impact on your quality of life, but may also lead to an unexpected financial strain by losing wages or increasing out-of-pocket expenses.
Therefore, you can claim for lost wages (and future loss of earnings where relevant), and things like vehicle repairs, the cost of hiring child care services, and even travel expenses under special damages.
Costs for any medical treatment, medications, and any specialised care that you need to recover from the car park accident also falls within this special damages category. It may also reimburse the costs of any home or vehicle adjustments necessary, if your injuries are severe.
Can I Still Get Compensation For A Hit & Run Car Park Accident?
Unfortunately, some perpetrators flee the scene after causing a car park accident. In many cases, drivers involved in a hit & run tend to be uninsured. Getting the licence plate of the motorist involved would help with tracking them down.
You can still seek compensation from the Motor Insurance Bureau if the perpetrator escapes, is uninsured, or can’t be found. The scheme gets funding from the premiums paid by all insured drivers. It may be worth pursuing this route for a hit & run, but you still have to provide proof of negligence to back up your claim.
How To Start Your Claim
If you need help to claim compensation for a car park accident, hiring a solicitor can certainly help you wade through the often daunting legal maze.
Engaging with a legal representative as early as possible after your accident is considered a smart move, because you will not only get guidance from an expert, it will also ensure you file your case within the statute of limitations (legal time period). The vast majority of claims need to be filed within 3-years of the incident.
So, if you want to find out whether your claim is valid or not. Fill in the form below and get some free, no-obligation advice from an experienced claims advisor, ready to help you start your claim.