Parking lots are common locations for motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian collisions. Drivers failing to look before backing out of parking spots or ignoring pedestrian rights-of-way cause many of these accidents. If you get injured in a parking lot accident in Arizona, there are steps that you should take to protect your legal rights. Taking the correct actions in the aftermath of a crash can improve your odds of a successful insurance claim against an at-fault party. Here are five steps that you should take after a parking lot accident, if possible.
Put Your Safety First
Stay where you are and check yourself for injuries. If you feel any pain, numbness or tingling in your back, try to avoid major movements, as you may have a spinal cord injury that could become exacerbated. Spinal cord injuries and other serious injuries are especially common in pedestrian collisions. If you were hit as a pedestrian in a parking lot, move to a safe location away from traffic, such as the eave of a nearby store or a median. If you are in a vehicle, turn the engine off and use your hazard lights to prevent further collisions. Only exit your car when it’s safe to do so.
Call the Police
In Arizona, you must call 911 immediately to report any car accident you are involved in that results in injuries, deaths or at least $1,000 in property damage. It can be wise, however, to report even a minor parking lot accident. Reporting the crash will give you a police report with key information about the collision and the other driver. You can then use a copy of this report as evidence during your car insurance claim. When the police arrive, be sure to give them your side of the story. The police can interview the other driver and eyewitnesses, as well as take official photographs of the crash scene for you.
Collect Information and Evidence
While the police can help you collect evidence to support a car accident claim, it is also important to gather information and documentation on your own. You can do this starting at the scene of your parking lot accident. Do your best to retrieve:
- The other driver’s name and contact information
- The other driver’s insurance information
- Eyewitness information
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene and any vehicle damage
- Photographs of your injuries
- A description of the accident
- A copy of your police report
- Copies of medical records
- An injury journal
Keep all records and documents connected to your parking lot accident organized in a folder or file. You will need as much information about the car accident as possible to file your insurance claim and prove your losses.
File an Auto Insurance Claim
Go to a hospital immediately after a parking lot accident for professional medical care. Then, once you have seen a doctor and received a treatment plan, begin the insurance claims process for your financial recovery. Arizona is a fault or tort state. This means that after a parking lot accident, you will file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver or party.
If you believe the other driver caused your crash, call his or her car insurance company to file a claim. You can also call your own insurer to investigate the accident and determine fault. When speaking to an insurance representative, do not admit fault or agree to give a recorded statement. Do not rush into a fast settlement or accept the first offer. The insurance company will most likely use tactics to try to devalue your claim.
Contact a Parking Lot Accident Lawyer
Before you complete the insurance process by accepting a settlement, contact a car accident lawyer in Glendale to discuss your legal rights. Unlike an insurance company, a lawyer will have your best interests in mind and want you to obtain maximum financial compensation for your crash-related injuries and losses. You can trust an attorney to help you take the correct steps after a parking lot accident for optimal case results.