Parking lots are risky for anyone, whether it is your first time driving to a local business or you use that parking lot every day. Small business owners need to worry not only about their own vehicles being hit by other drivers, but also driving carefully in extreme weather and the safety of their delivery drivers. Be aware of the risks and if a parking lot accident occurs, take the right steps in reporting it. As a business owner, you may be the person at fault, the victim or the witness.
Parking Lot Risks
While parking lots are a necessity for many brick and mortar small business, there are risks inherent in your parking lot, both for drivers and for parked cars. Weather conditions like rain, hail, snow or heavy winds can increase the risk, but even on a sunny day, parking lot accidents occur. They could be from a car losing control, not being careful about other vehicles, two cars pulling out of spaces at the same time, being negligent or large delivery trucks not noticing vehicles within their blind spot.
Steps to Take After an Accident
Unfortunately, being careful isn’t always enough and you might be involved in a car accident or you may be the witness. If you were involved in a car accident, follow these steps.
- Exit the vehicle and check the driver and passengers of the other cars involved to be sure they are safe as well. Contact 911 right away if anyone is injured.
- Get the involved vehicles into a safe location if you’re able to. If you have time, take a picture of the accident before moving the vehicles. Otherwise, take pictures of your car and theirs after moving the cars out of the way.
- If it was a serious accident, calling the police first to report the accident should be done after making sure you called for medical assistance. Write down details when you get a chance, as you may forget things like the time, location, weather conditions, date or what exactly occurred.
- Next, exchange information with the other driver including their name, license plate and insurance information. You may need this when calling your insurance company to report the accident.
- Look around for witnesses and ask them to stick around and provide a statement.
Witnessing a Parking Lot Accident
You may also be the witness to an accident in the parking lot of where you operate your business. In this case, provide any assistance you can such as helping passengers out of the car, pushing the car out of the way for other drivers to pass, and recording what you saw or heard for when the police report is filed. Stay close so you can give your statement.
Reduce Parking Lot Risks
Parking lots pose a lot of risks, but if you are safe you can eliminate many accidents. If it is your business parking lot, be sure there is plenty of lighting at all times day and night, that the stop signs are unobstructed and any snow is plowed or salted regularly.
As long as you follow the right steps, handling a parking lot accident doesn’t have to be too complicated. Be sure you get the other driver’s information and report the accident to the police and your insurance company right away. Additionally, you should always have a commercial auto insurance policy and property insurance for these types of situations.