Accidents in a private parking lot

Parking lot accidents present some interesting issues.  The rules of the road still apply when operating a motor vehicle, but many times there are no signs which advise drivers of the rules of the road.

In an unmarked roadway where there is an intersection, the general rule is that each driver must stop (regardless if there is no “STOP” sign or not).  Drivers must come to a full stop, look both ways and yield to oncoming traffic.

A driver who is traveling straight has the right of way.  Vehicles who are turning left (for example) must yield to oncoming traffic.

Pedestrians are given the right of way to vehicles in a parking lot.  Pedestrians must exercise caution when in a parking lot, however all vehicles must yield to them.

Crosswalks are sacrosanct whether in a parking lot or a public roadway.  A pedestrian has the unfettered right of way in any crosswalk.  Where there are no crosswalks, the Vehicle & Traffic Laws define a  crosswalk as beginning at the building line and traversing at a 180 degree angle towards and across the roadway.  Thus, the mere lack of marked crosswalk does not rule out a safe area for pedestrians.

Lastly, pedestrians injured in a parking lot have all of the same rights of a pedestrian who is injured in a public roadway.  If a motor vehicle injures a pedestrian in a private parking lot, that pedestrian may be covered under the “No Fault Law.”

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