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Legally Speaking

The rules that apply to roads and highways also apply in parking lots

Most have been told the popular myth that fault for an automobile accident in a parking lot is always 50/50. However, contrary to popular belief, fault for a parking lot accident does not have an automatic liability split.

In fact, it is important for drivers to know that the rules of the road apply to parking lots just as they do highways. This is why many parking lots are equipped with traffic controls such as stop signs and lanes – they are not designated free-for-alls.

For example, New Brunswick’s Motor Vehicle Act says that a driver who fails to drive without due care and attention in a parking lot commits an offence.

With that said, parking lots can make fault determination more complicated if their designs do not have marked lanes or signage. The way liability is determined for a parking lot automobile accident will largely depend on how that specific accident occurred. Therefore, when driving through a parking lot always be sure to:

• wear your seat belt;

• drive slowly;

• stick to designated lanes (do not drive through marked parking spots);

• respect stop signs and intersections as you would on a main road;

• be attentive to pedestrians – especially small children; and

• check your surroundings to make sure you can back up slowly before reversing out of parking spot.