Are Car Accidents In Parking Lots Treated Differently From Road Accidents?
Car accidents that occur in parking lots are treated differently than road accidents. Here are some answers to key questions that you may have related to parking lot car accidents:
Who has to prove liability in parking lot accidents?
Unlike accidents that occur on the road, or “highways”, accidents that occur in parking lots are not covered under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
Section 193(1) of the HTA provides for a reverse onus where an accident occurs on a highway, meaning that when loss or damage is sustained by a person as a result of an accident on a highway, the onus of proof is on the defendant driver to show that they are not liable.
Whereas when a car accident occurs in a parking lot, the injured party does not have access to the reverse onus provision, and the burden of proof therefore remains with the injured party to prove the defendant driver’s liability.
What kind of duty is owed by drivers in parking lots?
The HTA imposes certain obligations and duties on drivers. However, as parking lot accidents are precluded from relying on the HTA, the appropriate law for the operation of vehicles in parking lots is therefore determined according to the ordinary rules of negligence; meaning that a duty must exist, and that duty must have been breached.
Recent Ontario case law has found that the law of negligence imposes a duty of care on all persons driving automobiles in commercial parking lots to watch out for other users of the road, despite any perceived right-of-way (Ashim v. Zia, 2014 ONSC 6460).
Can you sue for damages?
Yes, however the burden is on you to prove the negligence and the liability of the other driver, which can prove a difficult task.
You will also be required to meet the Insurance Act threshold, and are highly-susceptible to a contributory negligence claim.
If you have questions about a parking lot car accident, contact the experts at Brown Beattie O’Donovan. We’ll help you determine your best course of action.