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What to do if you have a car park accident

over the limit accidents

It’s all too common to have an accident in a shopping centre car park. Car parks are crowded and many spaces are just too tight for large vehicles. Most accidents happen while vehicles are parked and shoppers come back to a nasty surprise. What can you do about car park accidents?

Top three shopping centre car park accidents

Accidents in car parks are 40% more likely to happen at Christmas or in January.  Saturdays are obviously the worst day of the year for a crash. Between 12pm and 4pm are the most likely times.

The top three worst shopping centre car parks for having an accident are:

  1. Victoria: Chadstone Shopping Centre
  2. New South Wales: Westfield Chatswood
  3. Queensland: Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore.

According to Suncorp , these are the most likely types of insurance claims:

  • 40% include accidental damage to a vehicle while parked, such as car door dings. 
  • A quarter involve a driver hitting a stationary object such as a bollard, shopping trolley or pillar/wall. 
  • A quarter happen when at least one driver is reversing.
  • Around 10% involve a driver hitting a parked car.

Whose fault is the car park accident?

Insurance claims are typically complex so proving who is at fault can be difficult. Here are some common rules of thumb in car park accidents:

  • Drivers approaching the through lane from parking spaces should give way to vehicles in the through lane. The vehicle pulling out of the parking space would be at fault.
  • Sometimes, two vehicles on opposite sides of the same line back out at the same time. The driver who exits first is not at fault but the second driver has a duty of care before exiting.
  • If your car is hit while parked you are not at fault but, if your door was open, liability may be split 50:50.
  • A collision can happen when two cars try to park in the same space. The driver crossing traffic lanes is at fault for not yielding to the vehicle turning into the space.
  • A driver who rear-ends the car in front is usually at fault because they did not adhere to safe stopping distances.

What to do in an accident

If you have an accident in a car park, try to stay calm and gather as much information as possible :

Ask for the other party’s details and information on their vehicle.

  • Take photos of the vehicles, damaged areas, and anything else you think may be relevant.
  • Get the names and addresses of any witnesses.
  • Use security footage if possible.
  • If someone becomes hostile, call security or the police.

Do car park accidents affect your greenslip?

Yes, accidents of all kinds can affect your green slip. The greenslips.com.au calculator asks about accidents where you were at fault in the past 2 or 5 years. Any claims made will affect your greenslip price.

Car park accidents may affect your comprehensive insurance too.  Some insurers have exclusion policies if you leave your vehicle unlocked and unattended, with keys in the ignition.

Be vigilant in shopping centre car parks at all times and save money on your insurance.

Also see: How to protect your car in car parks.

author image

Corrina Baird

Writer and Researcher, greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years in financial services and over 8 years with greenslips.com.au, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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