parking lot accident

Who is At Fault in a Parking Lot or Garage Accident?

No matter how well lit a parking lot or garage is, accidents happen. Sometimes a driver is distracted, sometimes they are in a rush and take risks they shouldn’t. No matter what the cause of a parking lot or garage accident is, you may need to fight to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damaged vehicle.

We’re here to help. If you’ve been injured or your car has been damaged in a parking lot or garage accident, contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 to learn more about your options.

Failure to Yield

The majority of parking lot and garage accidents come down to a failure to yield. Laws strictly govern who must yield and when, but those laws are often ignored in a parking lot or garage.

A person in a parking spot must yield to someone who is already in the lane of traffic. That is to say, if someone is in a parking spot wanting to get out, they must wait until the lane of traffic they are entering is completely clear to do so.

This doesn’t always happen, of course. Someone may have a little bit of space and start backing out, knowing that the people in the lane of traffic are likely to stop and wait for them. However, if they do this in front of a car that does not have time to stop, they will be found at fault for the accident.

What about two cars that are backing out simultaneously? When drivers from opposite sides are backing into the same lane of traffic, they may be watching the road but fail to check for other drivers entering the lane of traffic. When this occurs, both parties are typically liable. They both have an obligation to make sure that the lane is safe to enter.

When a Car is Not Parked Properly

Liability gets a little murkier and more complicated when a car is illegally parked. If a driver is navigating a parking lot or garage and strikes a legally parked car, they are obviously liable for the damage they caused to the vehicle. However, if they strike an illegally parked vehicle, the owner of the improperly parked car could be liable.

Which Lane Has Right of Way?

The labyrinth of a parking garage or highway can make it difficult to know when it’s your turn to go and when you need to yield. A lane of traffic that has direct access to a roadway has right of way over lanes that feed into that main lane of traffic. Consider a parking garage with one long lane that runs parallel to the roadway. Drivers must travel that lane and turn right to reach the roadway entry. Several other lanes that run perpendicular to the main roadway feed into this main lane. Someone traveling in the main lane has right of way, and someone trying to enter from a feeder lane must yield.

The Property Owner’s Role

Not all accidents are caused by negligent drivers. A poorly designed or maintained parking lot or garage could also be the issue. If signs are unclear about the direction of traffic, the location of the exit, and potential blind spots, the property owner may be liable for crashes that occur. Other risk factors include low visibility caused by poor lighting, sharp turns that force drivers to turn without a clear view, unclear lane marking, and narrow lanes that make accidents inevitable.

Unfortunately, receiving compensation for parking lot and garage accidents can be challenging. Since these accidents are on private property, police may be unwilling to help or write citations. That’s why you need an attorney. They can act quickly to get security footage, analyze the scene of the crash, and build a strong case for you.

Contact Us for Help with Your Parking Lot Accident

Have you been injured in a parking lot or garage accident? We know that these accidents often come with lots of frustration and stress. Rather than fighting with the property owner or security company to get the evidence you need, let us help. We’ll fight on your behalf to get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Schedule a consultation now by calling Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 or getting in touch with us online.

giving a statement to insurance company

Are You Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?

You’ve been involved in a car accident. You’re hurting pretty badly, and you aren’t sure when your car’s going to be fixed. Your cell phone rings—it’s the other driver’s insurance company, and they want to know about the accident. Then they ask for a recorded statement—what’s your next step?

Learn more about how to handle these requests, and for more specialized advice regarding your personal injury case, call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815.

The Short Answer

The short answer is no, you should not give a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance company. There is no law that requires you to do so. Not only are you not required to honor this request, we highly recommend against doing so.

The Truth is Not an Absolute Defense

When we give this advice, many people wonder why. After all, what does it hurt if you tell the truth about the accident and how it has affected you? Truth is not an absolute defense—not against criminal activity and not against liability in a car accident. Even if you tell your account completely and accurately, you can bet that those words will pop up again during settlement negotiations or your court case. And when they do, they can be twisted around and taken out of context to damage your claim.

Your Words Can Only Hurt You

To understand why, you have to remember who is asking for the statement. The other party’s insurer is not your friend. Yes, the representative may be nice on the phone. Yes, they may seem concerned about your injuries and seem like they want to make things right. However, they do not have your best interests in mind.

Their goal is to save their company as much as possible. They won’t take your statement, see that their client was obviously at fault, and give up. They will pick through your statement to find things they can use to discredit you and offer less money. The bottom line is the things you say in a recorded statement can only hurt you—they will not be used to help you.

Your Statement Could Affect Your Settlement

This all means that what you say during a recorded statement could actually affect the amount you receive in a settlement. Assume that you do give a recorded statement. The adjuster will go through it and compare it, word for word, to what you told the police and what is written in the police report. Any discrepancy, no matter how minor or unimportant, puts a hole in your story and gives them a justification to doubt your credibility. Anything you say that may indicate that your injuries aren’t as severe as reported will also be used against you and drive down the value of your settlement.

Do not give a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance company without first consulting with a lawyer. Again, there is no law requiring you to do so, and you are not doing yourself any favors by giving them the statement. Instead, reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and legal options. And if you have moderate to severe injuries, it is usually best to let an attorney take your case and handle communications with the insurance company.

What if My Insurance Company is Asking?

You may wonder what to do if your insurance company is the one asking for a statement. To start, it is relatively rare for the victim’s own insurance company to need a recorded statement. Recorded statements are primarily used to poke holes in the claimant’s testimony, so they are not likely to as for one unless it is an uninsured motorist claim. If they do as for a statement, it is still not in your best interests to it to them without first speaking with an attorney.

Turn to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey After Your Accident

When you get hurt in an accident, insurance companies are not on your side. This makes it very difficult to know who you can really trust as you try to get the compensation you deserve. We’re here to help you navigate this process and fight for the money you are owed. To schedule a consultation with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, call us at 251-260-3815 or contact us online.

uber accident

Liability for Ridesharing Accidents: What You Need to Know

Ridesharing may be one of the greatest conveniences of modern-day living. Instead of searching for taxi numbers, finding out if they have availability, and hoping that your fare isn’t too high, you can pull out your phone to get an immediate price and pickup time. With new technology, however, comes new questions and problems.

One of the biggest issues that faced ridesharing in its early days was the question of car accidents. While ridesharing drivers do have to submit to a background check, accidents happen and even the safest driver could find themselves in the middle of a crash. New corporate policies and laws have addressed these issues to make consumers safer.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a ridesharing crash, we’re here to help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815.

Parties That May Be Liable

Before you can start figuring out who is actually liable for the accident you’ve suffered, you should know the variety of parties that may be involved in your claim. Possible liable parties include:

  • The driver of the vehicle you were in
  • The other driver involved in the crash
  • The vehicle manufacturer
  • Manufacturer of one of the vehicle’s components
  • Repair shop
  • The government, if the crash was caused by poor signage or poorly maintained roads
  • Uber/Lyft, if they failed to identify a driver’s risk through information that their background check system should have found

How to Figure Out Who Is Liable

The process of determining liability is long, frustrating, and filled with dead ends. That’s one of the reasons you need an attorney. If you are healing from a traffic accident, you do not need the stress of investigating your own crash. Furthermore, it’s likely that you do not know which evidence is useful in figuring out liability.

To figure out who caused a crash and is therefore responsible for paying for damages, investigators and attorneys use a variety of evidence:

  • Photographs and video footage
  • Witness testimony
  • Damage at the scene of the accident
  • Police reports
  • Medical reports
  • Marks on the road or on nearby property
  • Investigating any claims that a vehicle malfunctioned

By analyzing all of this and other available evidence, your attorney will figure out who caused the crash and who they should go after for compensation.

Seeking Compensation

If you were the victim of a ridesharing accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the severity and circumstances of the crash, you could get compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Lost future wages if your ability to work is affected
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Who actually pays for this depends a lot on who is liable. If the driver of the other vehicle is liable, their insurance company will be involved in negotiations with your attorney. From there, they will work on finding a settlement amount that is fair to you. If the driver of the vehicle you were in caused the crash, their insurance company will first pay for any losses.

If their personal insurance policy is maxed out by your claim, additional damages then go through Uber/Lyft. When a ridesharing driver is transporting a client, the company’s insurance policy covers $1 million in liability and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist expenses. Between all of the policies, there is likely room for your expenses to be paid in full.

Why You Need an Attorney

Just because the insurance policies can pay for your losses doesn’t mean they automatically will. Insurance companies do their best to limit their own losses by fighting aggressively for a low settlement. This is another reason you need an attorney.

Your attorney will be able to fully investigate your accident and injuries, collect evidence, and present a compelling case to the other side’s insurance provider. Accepting too low of an offer can leave you in debt once the medical bills come in, so it’s crucial to work with an attorney who can get you the full and fair settlement you deserve.

Find Out How Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Can Help

Are you dealing with the aftermath of a ridesharing accident in Alabama? Get the support you need at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey. Call us at 251-260-3815 or contact us online to get started.

multi-car accident

Who Is At Fault for a Multi-Car Accident?

Determining fault in any auto accident can be challenging. But when you have an accident that involves three or more cars, the situation becomes even more complex. In many cases, multiple parties share some liability, making it difficult to determine who should pay damages and how much should be paid out.

This is why you shouldn’t try to tackle these issues yourself when you are injured in a car accident. Let us help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 now to discuss your legal options.

Witness Retellings of the Accident

When looking at liability, police officers, investigators, and attorneys representing all involved parties may look at witness retellings. Each driver will have their own story of how the accident occurred, and hopefully, there will be other witnesses to stop to provide their insight. Though it’s unlikely that any one driver’s retelling is completely accurate, investigators can often piece together a true series of events by combining different stories.

Looking at the Location of Damage

Identifying where each car was damaged during the crash is another excellent way to figure out who caused a multi-car crash. Consider, for example, a driver sitting at a red light. A car comes up behind them driving far above the speed limit and rear ends them, and due to their speed, the first driver’s car is pushed into the intersection. A car coming from the right sees them, tries to stop, but still dings them on the right side.

The driver who rear ended the stopped car may point the finger at the driver who had the right of way, saying that they should have stopped and should have been paying attention. However, looking at the stopped car, it is clear that the vast majority of the damage is on the rear. The car that rear ended them is totaled. The car that hit them on the side has minor damage. Based on this, investigators can see that the rear ending driver holds most of the liability for the accident.

When No One Wants to Take Responsibility

Be prepared for a fight when you are dealing with a multi-car accident. More parties doesn’t necessarily mean a greater pool of money for victims. It simply means that everyone involved has more people to blame. No insurance company wants to pay more than they have to, so if they have the opportunity to blame another party, they will jump on it.

That’s why you need an attorney. None of the insurance companies involved have your best interests in mind. They simply want to get out of the situation while paying as little as possible. Your attorney is the only one who puts your needs first and sorts out the evidence to figure out who should be held responsible for your expenses. After a crash, you’ll have medical bills, lost income, and property damage to pay for. Without an attorney, you will have a hard time getting the compensation you need to meet those obligations.

Figuring Out Liability

When your attorney starts working on your case, they will look at who had an obligation to you and who failed to meet that obligation. Drivers have an obligation to drive in a careful, reasonable way that takes others into account. In the example above, the driver behind the stopped car had an obligation to the other driver and everyone else on the road. They violated that obligation when they did not stop in time. As a result, they may be liable both for damages to the stopped car’s driver, but also the person who hit the stopped car on the side.

What about the car who struck the stopped car on the side? That is a more nuanced question. Yes, they too have an obligation to take reasonable steps to avoid accidents and stay safe. If they were not distracted while driving, were moving at a legal speed, and immediately tried to stop when they saw the car enter the intersection, they may have fulfilled their obligation and have no liability. If they did not stop because they expected the car to move out of the way or tried to stop too late because of a distraction, they may have some liability. In multi-car accidents, it often comes down to the specific details.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

Have you been hurt in a multi-car accident? If so, you need an experienced attorney who can figure out who is liable for your losses. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.