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THOSE PARKING LOT ACCIDENTS!
By Chuck Wells

For some reason, we have had a rash of clients having accidents in parking lots. You would think that only happens in the middle of the winter when you can’t see out your windows and it is slippery. But no, it’s happening in the middle of the day when it’s sunny and nice out. Go figure!

Anyway, the real question you have probably been asking yourself ever since you learned to drive is: “Who is at fault in a parking lot accident?”

It depends (what else is new?).

The first thing you need to remember is that a parking lot is not the same as out on the highway. As far as insurance goes, no one has the right-of-way. If you are driving down an aisle, you have the responsibility of looking out for other cars pulling into your lane from a parking spot. The person pulling out also has a responsibility not to hit someone. You are supposed to use common sense.

Many parking lot accidents I have worked on turn out to be both drivers’ fault. In other words, your company will pay for damages to your car and the idiot driving the other car who you think is always at-fault will have his insurance company pay for his damages.

One case I worked on recently involved one of my clients backing out from a parking space in a mall parking lot. According to my client, a lady came “racing” down the aisle at a high rate of speed and my client hit the back quarter panel of the lady’s car. The lady said she was late to pick up her kid.

Unfortunately, the lady’s statement that she was driving too fast because she was late, was not recorded on the police report and the lady did not repeat that statement again. Since my client hit the lady’s car in the rear portion of the car, my client was considered at-fault and we had to pay all the damages to the other car and my client’s rates will probably go up at the next renewal.

We had another case of a young female client’s car that was hit while parked in a parking lot. The lady got out of her car to talk to my client who was sitting in her car. My client got out and told the lady she would go in to call the police so a report could be taken. When she got back, the lady was long gone! My client did not get a license plate number so we were out of luck. Not only that, my client did not have collision coverage on her car so she could not collect anything from anyone!

Keep in mind that if you do not have collision coverage on your car, your insurance company will not pay for damages to your car even if it is parked.

Make sure you get information on the other driver or at least a license plate number before you leave them alone.

I have had a number of cases where the other driver just took off when my client went in to make a phone call. They get nervous and just want to bail. It’s your job to get some information at the scene of an accident. Also get names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses in case the other person decides to lie about the accident later.

SOME ODDS AND ENDS

A Norwegian postman got sacked after people on his route complained that they weren’t getting many letters. The postal authorities found 880 pounds of unopened mail in his basement. Does your carrier have a Norwegian accent?

According to the Rev. Speaker Gerald Polley of Maine, thousands of dead Californians, including Frank Sinatra, have been banned from entering heaven. Seems that anyone who dies from California is persona non grata because the state is filled with so many “demons.” Polley said that God sent Dean Martin over to the holding area to keep Sinatra calmed down.

Legend has it that George Washington confessed to chopping down a cherry tree. If Former President Clinton were faced with the same dilemma, he would probably deny knowledge of the cherry tree’s condition, accuse the report of being hate talk, that it wasn’t really chopping down, say that divulging any information could compromise his security, and finish by saying even if he did know about the cherry tree, it’s not relevant to the job he has done but he will get to the bottom of it and report back to the American people.

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