Parking Lot Injuries
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Who Is Liable If I Am Injured in a Parking Lot?
As a general rule, the owner of a parking lot is liable for injuries to people on or near the parking lot that were caused by the owner's negligence. Put another way, the lot owner has a duty to keep the lot reasonably safe. If the owner fails to maintain safety and creates, or allows to exist, a potential for harm, the owner may be liable for injuries.
For example, there is a large crack in the pavement of a parking lot. The owner acknowledges the crack, but ignores it. The crack eventually causes someone to slip and fall. The owner will very likely be held liable.
Parking Garage and Lot Owners’ Duty of Care: Parking lot owners and property owners who invite people onto their lots have a legal duty of care to keep their lots and premises reasonably safe. This includes an obligation to make regular inspections to identify and repair any dangerous conditions and defects on the land that could be harmful for any invitees.
Type of Liability: Parking lot owners have a duty to make the premises reasonably safe. Reasonably means that the lot owner does not have to keep the lots free and clear of all possible harm, but only harm they know or should know could be dangerous. Since parking lots have constant rain and normal wear and tear, it would be impossible for an owner to discover every new crack, pothole, or possible harmful condition. For an parking lot owner to be held liable, the danger must be apparent after an inspection and/or the parking lot owner must have notice of the danger.
Proving Your Claim: If you are hurt in a parking lot, it is your duty to produce evidence that the parking lot owners negligence was the cause of your injury and but for the parking lot owner’s negligence, you would not have been injured. You must successfully prove that the owner knew or should have known of an existing dangerous condition and failed to remedy the condition in a reasonable period of time.
What Are Common Parking Lot Accidents?
Since there are many pedestrians and invitees that drive on and go on public parking lots and parking garages, there are several types of accidents and dangerous conditions that may occur:
- Pavement Dangers: Pavements can be cracked, uneven, slippery, damages, dislocated, covered in oil making it slippery, have dangerous potholes.
- Poor Lighting: inefficient lighting could cause many slip and falls, criminal activity, and can mask other dangerous conditions such as potholes, and cracked pavements.
- Inadequate or Confusing Signs: Ineffective stop, yield, turn signs could be a contributing factor to parking lot collisions.
- Insufficient Security: Lack of parking lot security could cause a rise in criminal activity.
- Speed Bumps: Insufficient speed bumps could allow other drivers to drive in excessive speed and cause injury to other drivers and/or passengers.
- Driver Negligence: Other drivers may not stop or yield at parking lot signs which could result in an injury of another driver or pedestrian.
Are There Limits on Liability?
Yes. Due to the high volume of traffic and occasional difficulty to anticipate injuries, there are a few key limitations on liability.
- Foreseeability: The negligence of the parking lot owner must cause the injury, and not be from some other unforeseeable event.
- Reasonability: The lot is also only responsible for unreasonable risks. That means that the owner does not have to repair every crack or imperfection in the floor because of some minimal, remote chance of injury.
So, an owner isn't automatically liable simply because there is a dangerous condition in the parking lot. If the condition is difficult to anticipate, or is so obvious that everyone should know to avoid it, then there is probably no liability.
What about Crimes in the Parking Lot That Result in Injuries?
In general, a parking lot has no duty to protect its customers from random crimes, such as assault or robbery, that may occur there. However, the lot owner may have to take reasonable steps to protect people if it is foreseeable, based on the circumstances, that a crime could occur there. Moreover, the lot owner may have a duty to protect the cars of customers from crimes.
Should I Contact a Lawyer?
If you have been hurt or injured during a visit to a parking lot and want to assess the viability of your claim, the advice of a personal injury lawyer can be extremely helpful. An experienced attorney can help you investigate your injury and recover damages in an effort to make you whole again from your injuries.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 04-15-2015 10:04 AM PDT
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