Can a Pedestrian Hit by a Car in a Parking Lot File an Injury Claim?
In Florida, if you are a pedestrian hit by a car in a parking lot, the driver’s insurance policy should cover your damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, or costs related to your injury.
Every driver is required by law to maintain no-fault, PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, which unfortunately only covers up to $10,000 in damages. The driver’s PIP coverage extends to injured pedestrians struck by the driver.
Further, if the driver carries bodily injury liability coverage, you can also file a liability claim to recover damages related to your injuries. But to file a liability claim, you must establish that the driver is at fault for the wreck. For example, you may present evidence that the driver failed to check his rearview mirror when backing out of a parking space, leading him to strike you and cause you serious injury.
Unfortunately, many drivers are uninsured or underinsured, meaning their insurance will not fully compensate you for the medical bills, lost wages, or other damages that come with a permanent disability or serious injury. This could leave you turning to your own insurance policy.
Will my insurance company cover my injuries even if I was not driving?
It should. Your PIP and uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it) can cover your injuries.
Personal Injury Protection: PIP
PIP is no-fault coverage, so even if you are at fault, you still receive coverage. Florida Statute § 627.736(4)(e)(1) says the insurer of a motor vehicle owner will pay PIP benefits for bodily injury caused by contact with a motor vehicle, even if the other party is not operating his own vehicle.
Beyond just immediate medical expenses, Florida’s PIP statute offers partial protection against lost wages as a result of disability or recovery time. The statute states that victims are entitled to:
Sixty percent of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity per individual from inability to work proximately caused by the injury sustained by the injured person, plus all expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining from others ordinary and necessary services in lieu of those that, but for the injury, the injured person would have performed without income for the benefit of his or her household.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: UM/UIM
While not mandatory in Florida, many drivers also carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). If you carry this coverage on your policy, you can file a claim with it if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured. UM/UIM coverage pays your medical bills, lost wages, and even pain and suffering damages.
What should I do if a car hit me in a parking lot?
If a vehicle struck you or a loved one while you were walking through a parking lot, be sure to notify the police, especially if you are injured. While you are waiting for the police to arrive, and once you have taken care of any immediate medical needs, you should:
- Look for and speak with witnesses. Gather contact information and names. If you believe the driver was distracted, did someone else see him on his phone who can verify your story? Ask eyewitnesses what they saw.
- Take photographs. Ask the driver not to move the car until you have had a chance to photograph it and the surrounding area. Err on the side of caution: remember that a shot of the parking lot that may seem unimportant can actually prove the driver had a clear view and is at fault.
- Check for surveillance cameras. Many parking lots are equipped with security cameras, and even if the business you have been visiting does not, a neighboring building may have a camera pointed in the direction of the accident. Ask the business owner to save the footage.
According to Smart Growth America’s 2016 Dangerous By Design study of pedestrian-friendly communities, Florida leads the country for dangerous metro areas. In fact, the top seven most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians are in Florida, and nine out of the top twenty most dangerous metro areas are in the Sunshine State. Although most parking lot strikes occur at low speed, pedestrian strikes always carry with them a serious risk for injury or permanent disability.
Coffey Trial Law understands how confusing and overwhelming Florida insurance law can be. We also understand that many victims of pedestrian accidents are already facing mounting expenses and financial hardship, and, as such, we offer free consultations and contingency representation — we only collect our fees if you win your case. Call us today to learn about your options: 954–541-3194.