Even though the basic rules of the road still apply when you’re driving in a parking lot, it may be a little more difficult to figure out who is at fault for an accident. Being considered “at fault” for a collision could play a role in determining whether or not you have to pay your deductible when you make a claim, and it could also affect your car insurance premium. While fault determination rules vary by province, here are some examples of common accidents that occur in parking lots and how fault may be determined in each scenario.
If your vehicle is hit while it’s legally parked and you’re able to identify the other driver, you probably won’t be considered at fault. But if you’re opening your door and another driver hits it while it’s open, you would likely be considered at fault. While liability for parked-car collisions can vary by situation, your insurer will do their best to avoid considering you at fault whenever possible.
If you hit another vehicle or another vehicle hits you while you’re leaving a parking spot and entering the feeder lane (the lane you’d be pulling into from your parking spot), you will likely be considered at fault, as vehicles in the feeder lane always have the right of way. Always look both ways as you leave a parking spot to avoid getting involved in an at-fault collision.
In this situation, the fault could be split 50/50, but the rules vary slightly by provincially legislated rules. Typically, fault would be split 50/50 when your insurer is unable to determine who is at fault based on the details of the accident, or if two cars hit each other at the same time while they are both leaving their parking spots.
After you leave your parking spot and drive to the end of the feeder lane, you end up pulling into a thoroughfare, or a main “road” inside the parking lot. Vehicles driving in the thoroughfare always have the right of way. If you hit another vehicle while you’re turning into a thoroughfare, you will be considered at fault.
If you find that your vehicle has been damaged by another vehicle in a hit-and-run, most insurers will require you to report it to the police within 24 hours in order for them to consider it a not-at-fault accident. If you fail to report the collision to police within the timeframe required by your insurer, you could be considered at fault by your insurer.
While these are a few common scenarios and examples of how fault may be determined after a parking lot collision, there are many factors and rules that go into determining who is at fault, and they vary by province. Generally speaking, in provinces (such as Ontario) that follow a “no-fault” or Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) system, fault for a collision will be determined based on specific fault determination rules. In provinces without DCPD systems, fault will be determined based on the provincial rules of the road.
If you have questions about a specific situation, it’s best to give us a call.