Fatal Paramus Supermarket Accident Shows Dangers Lying in Wait in Parking Lots

Parking lots can be dangerous places, especially for shoppers walking to or from their vehicles. A recent fatal pedestrian accident at a New Jersey supermarket serves as a stark illustration. On Labor Day at about 1 pm, an 81-year-old man was driving his large SUV through the lot at ShopRite of Paramus when he struck a 77-year-old woman who was crossing an internal driveway of the lot on foot. Despite life-saving efforts by local police and EMS, the woman died later that evening. The driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

This incident shows how parking lots can be hotbeds for accidents. There are typically multiple driveways and parking lanes in confined spaces, with traffic moving in all directions. With many vehicles in close proximity, it can be hard for drivers to spot pedestrians or vehicles who are — or may be about to cross — their path. Adverse weather conditions can create additional hazardous conditions, and so can poor lighting and visibility at night. While most parking lot accidents are slow-speed collisions, the Paramus incident reminds us that pedestrians can be seriously hurt or killed even if a vehicle is moving just a few miles an hour.

Although New Jersey has a no-fault system for auto accident claims, lawsuits against other parties are permitted when an accident results in serious injury or death. In such cases, it is necessary to prove that other parties were primarily at fault for the accident. If the injured person is deemed more than 50 percent at fault, they cannot recover compensation at all.

In a parking lot accident, the driver who struck the pedestrian is likely to bear a high percentage of fault. Whoever owns the parking lot could bear some responsibility as well. For example, if the accident happened at night and the parking lot was poorly lit, these conditions could have made it difficult for the driver to see pedestrians. The store has a legal responsibility to keep its parking lot reasonably safe and failure to do so could expose the store to liability.

If you get hurt in a parking lot, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. You should speak with an experienced pedestrian injury attorney who can help you navigate the claims process and the legal issues stemming from the accident.

At Seigel Law, we represent clients injured in shopping malls, parking lots and other locations in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties. If you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer, please call 201-444-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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