Lawsuits and Settlements Involving Vehicles Driven into Storefronts, Restaurants and Commercial Buildings in Washington State
Vehicle-into-building crashes happen more frequently than most people think. Every day in the U.S., there are 50-60 serious storefront accidents that involve a car or truck that crashes into a restaurant, store, or other type of business often severely injuring customers and employees.
These crashes sometimes take the lives of business patrons or employees that may have been hit by or pinned under the at-fault driver's vehicle or struck by flying debris.
Research shows these collisions also occur when drivers are entering or exiting ‘nose-in' parking spaces that face pedestrian walkways or business storefronts. Vehicle-into-building crashes also happen to buildings located in the curve of a roadway or at a T-shaped intersections when a driver loses control of the vehicle.
Businesses located on busy roadways, downtown city streets, or commercial business districts areas and those with parking spaces that are directly facing the storefront are most at risk for having a vehicle crash into them.
Can The Building Owner Be Held Liable For Customer Injuries or Death When A Vehicle Crashes Into A Storefront?
Although the public has no idea how frequently these crashes occur, building owners, property managers and business operators have known for years that this is a major public safety issue. Buildings that lack proper safety mechanisms have often been struck multiple times.
Once aware of the safety issues, building owners have a duty to address or correct the problems. If they fail to do so they may be held liable or partly at-fault for all future incidents. Store owners can implement protective devices on their own but most do not.
The Storefront Safety Council believes that shopping center owners and merchants should take steps to protect their customers. The storefront protection industry is currently exploring more ways to prevent vehicle crashes into retail stores, restaurants, and other commercial buildings.
Storefront Accident Statistics
- There are 20,000 vehicle-into-building crashes every year in the United States. That's 50 to 60 accidents every day.
- Every day in the US more than 20 convenience stores are struck by vehicles. That’s more than 7,300 convenience store crash incidents each year.
- During the four year period between 1991 and 1995, there were 1,500 crashes into 7-Eleven stores in the US.
- Forty-one percent of all vehicle-into-building crashes are caused by driver confusion or "pedal error."
- There are more than 550 vehicle-into-storefront accidents reported in the news media each year.
Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Storefront Safety Council.