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School parking lot accident | Fault?

by Tina

On October 8 2009 my daughter pulled into her space in her school parking lot. The space is on a slight incline and she has to turn to the right to enter her space. There is a slight blind spot while she is turning.

The young man who parks beside her either had his door open or opened the door as she was turning in. I spoke to the young man's mother the day of the accident and she told me she would get some estimates on her son's car. I said fine just get back with me. She didn't want to involve the insurance for fear that hers would go up.

When got an estimate for our daughter's car and it was a little over 1300.00 his was 620.00. We have since gotten our daughter's car fixed and we never heard anything for the other party. Until today Dec 17 when the young man's mom called and is threatening to sue my husband and my daughter because our insurance is saying that the young man is at fault.

I always thought if an accident occured in a parking lot then it is considered private property and each party takes care of their own damages. We told her that she needed to call our insurance company and discuss this with them. Instead we call the insurance to let them know what she said and they are checking into it.

She did send them an estimate for her son's car but I have no idea as to what evidence other than the pictures they may have to claim it was her son's fault.

Do you think she has a case?

We asked her who she had insurance with she told us but refused to give us her agent's name.

The young man did not have any proof of insurance in his vehicle at the time of the accident.


Hello Tina,

Well, parking lot accidents are difficult. No, you are incorrect, just because it is private property it does not mean that people take care of their own damages. The party at fault must pay for damages.

There are several laws that regulate how a person opens a door (must look before opening) and thus that may help you. However, when a person is in a parking lot, the duty to look out is enhanced. The driver must look to see if persons will get out of the car.

It's possible that both drivers have some kind of responsibility on that. Remember that Alabama is a Pure Contributory Negligence State, see: Alabama Power Co. v. Schotz, 215 So.2d 447 (Ala. 1968).

This means that if both drivers are at fault, each driver must pay each other their percentage of fault.

Please see:

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Good Luck,

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