Lots of car accidents happen in parking lots in St. Joseph. Some of them can be surprisingly serious, especially when a pedestrian is involved. Understanding who has the right of way in a parking lot is not always easy, but it can help you avoid making a decision that puts others at risk and let you know when someone else can be held liable if you got hit and hurt.
The Three Different Areas of a Parking Lot
To understand who has the right of way, it helps to know the different areas in a parking lot. There are three of them:
- Parking spaces, which are the white or yellow lines on the ground and the car-sized areas in between them,
- Parking lanes, also known as feeder lanes, which run between the rows of parking spaces, and
- Through lanes, sometimes called thoroughfare lanes, which connect the lot to the street, and which often run around the perimeter of the lot.
Generally, the speed limit in all of these areas is 15 miles per hour.
Pedestrians (Almost) Always Have the Right of Way
The most important rule is that pedestrians have the right of way in a parking lot. The whole point of a parking lot is for drivers to park their vehicle and then walk into a store. The high foreseeability of dealing with pedestrians in a parking lot give them the right of way.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. It does not give pedestrians the right to run or jump out in front of vehicles without any warning. Pedestrians who sprint in between vehicles in the parking spaces and then dart out into the feeder lanes are usually liable for any accidents that result.
But not always: If the person running in the parking lot is a young child, the driver who hits them may still be held responsible.
Cars Have a Hierarchy Based On Where They Are
For vehicles in the parking lot, right of way is determined by where they are and the flow of traffic. Vehicles in parking spaces always have to yield. Vehicles in feeder lanes have the right of way over parked vehicles, but have to yield to those in the through lane. Vehicles in the through lane have right of way over all other vehicles.
This means that two cars backing out of their parking spaces have equal right of way. If they back into each other, they are usually both held to be equally at fault.
However, individual parking lots can set their own traffic rules with signs or with paint on the lot’s surface. For example, they can make feeder lanes one-way or can increase or decrease the speed limit on the lot or in certain areas of it.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office Serve St. Joseph
Parking lot accidents are common, and can be quite severe in some cases. If you were hurt and were not at-fault, you deserve compensation. The personal injury and car accident lawyers at the Smith Law Office can help you recover it in St. Joseph, Kansas City, Springfield, or the rest of western Missouri. Call their law office at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online.