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Parking lots can be dangerous places. People pulling out in different directions, pedestrians walking to their cars or to business establishments, and imperfections in the lot itself can all lead to accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a parking lot accident, an early consultation with a Southern Pines parking lot accident lawyer may be to your benefit. Let a seasoned car wreck attorney fight for your right to consultation.

Seeking Compensation for a Parking Lot Accident

Most negligence claims in North Carolina, including those involving parking lots, must be brought within three years of the incident. N.C.G.S. §1-52. This is why it may be important to speak with a Southern Pines accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Parking lot accidents could cause serious or sometimes even fatal injuries. Damages which might be recovered in a given case include:

  • Payment of past and future medical bills
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Compensation for lost wages and any future earning impairment
  • Compensation for property damage

An attorney could assist in determining the extent of a damage claim.

Causation and Recovery in Southern Pines

In parking lot situations, it may be difficult to ascertain who is at fault, particularly since there are rarely traffic signals or signs such as those found on streets and highways. This is a particular note of importance due to North Carolina’s contributory negligence law, which mandates that if an injured party is as little as one-percent at fault for an accident, they may be wholly barred from any recovery for their injuries. Sorrells v. MYB Hospitality Ventures, 332 N.C. 645 (1992). However, it must also be noted that the negligence of the injured person must actually contribute to the accident itself, or it may not bar the claim. Ellis v. Whitaker, 156 N.C. App. 192 (2003).

Last Clear Chance Rule

Fortunately, there are a number of exceptions to this seemingly harsh rule. One exception involves the “last clear chance” rule, whereby even if the injured claimant is negligent in causing the accident, if another party could reasonably have avoided the collision and failed to do so, the claim may not be barred. Watson v. White, 309 N.C. 498 (1983). For example, if someone is backing out of a space and does not see an oncoming driver, but that driver had plenty of time to apply its brakes and chose not to do so, the party backing out might still have a claim even if deemed partly responsible for the accident.

Reckless Conduct

Another exception is where the other party engages in reckless or intentional conduct. Take the previous example and assume the other driver accelerated intentionally instead of braking to teach the backing out driver a lesson. In such circumstances, the contributory negligence of the driver backing out without looking might not foreclose their claim. Yancey v. Lea, 354 N.C. 48 (2001).

Finally, in the circumstances of a toddler under the age of seven walking into an oncoming vehicle, North Carolina will not attribute any contributory negligence to the child, and thus their claim may not be barred. Walston v. Greene, 247 N.C. 693 (1958). A Southern Pines parking lot accident lawyer could be useful in determining if one of these exceptions applies.

Talk to a Southern Pines Parking Lot Accident Attorney

Given the seriousness of some parking lot accidents, and the complex law in North Carolina concerning recovery for injuries suffered as a result, it may be advisable to reach out to an experienced Southern Pines parking lot accident lawyer to better understand your rights. Call today to learn more about how an attorney could help you.