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Who Is Responsible for Vehicle Damage in a Parking Lot in North Carolina?

While parking lot accidents are common in North Carolina, they can be some of the most confusing to deal with when determining liability. However, understanding who is responsible for vehicle damage in a parking lot in North Carolina is crucial to help navigate the insurance claims process and hold the right party accountable for their actions. Knowing the rules of liability can help you manage the aftermath regardless of how minor or severe the accident is.

Determining Liability in Parking Lot Accidents

To effectively determine who is liable for a parking lot accident, the actions of all drivers involved will be scrutinized to determine how the collision happened. Some of the most common ways in which liability is determined in these cases include:

Rear-End Collisions

In most North Carolina rear-end collisions, the driver who rear-ended another vehicle is at fault for the accident. This is because drivers are expected to maintain a safe distance behind another vehicle to give them enough time to react to sudden stops.

This rule still applies even in parking lots with lower speed limits. It’s the rear driver’s responsibility to remain vigilant and observe the car in front of them.

Backing Out of a Space

One of the most common accidents to happen in a parking lot is when one vehicle hits another as they are backing out of a parking space. When two vehicles collide while both are in reverse, both drivers could share liability. This is because both drivers have a responsibility to check their surroundings before and while they are backing up. If only one vehicle is in motion at the time, they could be solely responsible for the accident.

Pulling Forward Out of a Space

When a driver decides to pull forward out of a parking space and hits someone else, the fault will typically lie with the driver who is making the exit. Parking lots often have marked lanes to manage the flow of traffic. If the driver pulling out of the space failed to yield to a car already moving in the lane of traffic, they could be held liable for not honoring the right of way.

Failure to Yield

Failing to yield to another car that has the right of way is another common cause of parking lot accidents. The concept of yielding is intended to prevent causing collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles. For example, a vehicle is required to yield when entering a parking lot from any side aisle. All vehicles in a parking lot are expected to yield to pedestrians in designated crosswalks. Any evidence to suggest a violation of this rule can help prove who was at fault.

Pedestrian Accidents

Parking lots are a high-risk area for pedestrian accidents. It’s why drivers are recommended to stay vigilant and be prepared to stop at any time as they are looking for a parking spot or backing out and leaving. The fault may only be placed on a pedestrian if they were acting unpredictably or illegally, like running into the path of a moving vehicle or neglecting to use the designated crosswalks.

While these are the most common scenarios, there are other events outside of these explanations that could help determine liability in your parking lot accident. Connect with a car accident lawyer as soon as you can to share the details of your case. They can identify the legal strategy that would be the most advantageous to help secure a win and settlement award. To build a strong case, they may scrutinize evidence like police reports or hire an accident reconstruction professional.


Q: Do Insurance Companies Cover Parking Lot Accidents in North Carolina?

A: Yes, insurance companies are typically able to cover damages that happened due to a parking lot accident in North Carolina. Whether the accident happened on public or private property, both parties can still file claims with their insurers. Liability coverage will pay for any damages to the other vehicle if you were proven to be at fault, while collision coverage can help repair your own vehicle, no matter who was at fault.

Q: Is North Carolina a No-Fault State?

A: No, North Carolina is not a no-fault state. It operates under the fault-based system. This means that anyone found guilty of causing an accident will be liable for the damages they caused. The at-fault driver is responsible for covering the costs of the other party’s injuries and property damage, and a personal injury claim may be filed against them. However, if the other party is found to be partially responsible, North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule will drop the charges.

Q: What Is the Fender Bender Law in North Carolina?

A: North Carolina’s fender bender law requires all drivers who have been in an accident to stop and exchange information with anyone else involved. This law applies no matter how minor the injuries or accident appears to be.

During this exchange, drivers should share their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. It is also advised to call the police to the scene so they can address any questions and create their own report of what they observed. Having this report can be compelling evidence throughout the claims process.

Q: Who Has the Right of Way When Backing Out of a Parking Spot in NC?

A: The right of way will generally belong to a driver traveling through a parking lot lane over those who are backing out. This is because drivers who are backing out are expected to yield to oncoming traffic. If a driver neglects to check for other vehicles or pedestrians before moving their car in reverse, this decision alone puts them at risk of being found liable for the accident.

Contact Christina Rivenbark & Associates Today

If you have been involved in a parking lot accident in North Carolina, reach out to Christina Rivenbark & Associates. Our team of attorneys has the skill set and experience needed to help you navigate the complexities of parking lot accidents and prove who was at fault. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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