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Parking Lot Accidents During the Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is in full swing. If you’ve been visiting stores, you know what that means: endless crowds jostling to get the perfect toy, hidden speaker systems droning carols into your brain, long lines waiting to sit in Santa’s lap, and banners everywhere celebrating green and red, holly and mistletoe, fruitcake and figgy pudding.

It’s exhausting and glorious at the same time. Welcome, again, to Christmas.

What concerns us today, though, is another aspect of the holiday season that doesn’t get emphasized often enough. When we think about distracted driving, we’re usually talking about cell phones and text messages. This time of year, though, other sorts of distractions multiply enormously, making every parking lot a potential danger zone for car accidents.

  • One driver may be dazzled by a gaudy seasonal display and fail to see the small child running across his path. Will he stop in time?
  • Another driver may be mentally checking off the gifts she just purchased and planning her next stop; with her mind off the task of driving, she backs out of her parking space directly into another vehicle. Crunch.
  • After driving around the lot for ten minutes, the family and the have each spotted a handicap-accessible space opening up near the store entrance. Both vehicles lurch forward to claim it, resulting in a front-end collision. The ’ SUV is barely dented, but the Mednicks’ Prius is badly damaged. Mr. Mednick has a touchy temper even on a good day (and this hasn’t been a good day); he’s already out of his car, ready to give the other driver a piece of his mind. Somebody better call 911 right now.

Is This Really a Big Deal?

Here’s the thing: It’s a huge deal. Around 20 percent of all motor vehicle collisions happen in parking lots. About one out of every seven claims for vehicle damage involve parking lot car accidents. Drivers are more likely to shrug off a “gentle” parking lot collision and drive away without exchanging insurance information with the other party, so insurance claims are significantly complicated.

There are many reasons typically given for parking lot accidents, including:

  • Congested lanes and parking spaces
  • Congestion and difficulty synchronizing with street traffic at parking lot exits and entrances
  • Children and other pedestrians wandering between vehicles
  • Drivers looking for vacant spaces who fail to watch for other drivers and pedestrians
  • Drivers backing out of angled parking who fail to see vehicles or pedestrians in their blind spots
  • Poor lighting after sunset
  • Visibility is hampered by precipitation
  • Irregular parking arrays at the end of a row

During holiday shopping, all these problems are intensified, and a new layer of distraction is piled on top. It’s no wonder that the risk of parking lot pedestrian and vehicular accidents soars in the last weeks of the year.

Now, we know people who say, “Traffic moves so slowly in parking lots that collisions won’t seriously hurt anyone.” Try telling that to the mother whose eight-year-old son has just been run over by a car. It’s true that a parking lot crash is far more likely to damage the vehicle rather than the car’s occupants, but serious injuries can occur to a driver and his passengers even at speeds of ten miles per hour or less.

Turn to Schmidt Kramer After You Have Been Hurt in a Pennsylvania Parking Lot Crash

The chaos of a retail parking lot during peak holiday shopping hours mimics the chaos inside the stores: it’s a free-for-all disguised with just a thin veneer of orderliness. It’s a very dangerous place.

If you have been injured as a passenger, pedestrian, or driver in a Pennsylvania parking lot accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the person who struck you. To find out more, call (717) 888-8888 toll-free to contact the Harrisburg auto accident attorneys from Schmidt Kramer. We offer FREE, no-obligation consultations to new clients so we can assess your case and tell you if you have a valid claim. When you call us, ask for a copy of our useful client report, Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident? It is FREE.