It goes without saying that motor vehicles are the number one method of transportation within the United States. Aside from a select number of large cities like Chicago and New York City, the infrastructure has been littered with an overabundance of excess parking lots and parking garages in order to accommodate numerous vehicles at any given time. They are featured at shopping malls, sports stadiums, college and high school campuses, as well as other venues of the like. That said, when thinking of dangerous locations at these types of facilities, do parking lots come to mind? If not, they should. In fact, a study of the United Educators revealed that; parking lots are one of an institutions riskiest location. Personal injury to individuals and damage to property occurring on the parking lot grounds of college campuses only has totaled an astonishing $32million over a recent 5-year period. So, the question that must be answered is; why are parking lots a risky location and what should you do if you suffer an injury on a private parking lot?
Abnormalities in Pavement
It is commonly known that over extended periods of time, bad weather and shifts in the ground lead to potholes and cracks in parking lots and sidewalks. When such shifts and abnormalities occur, the pavement becomes uneven, making it possible for customers and business invitees to suffer a trip and fall accident. As one would imagine, such a situation could lend to a serious injury, causing head trauma, broken bones, and even death.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, more than 9000 pedestrians suffer a personal injury or death in parking lots and garages each year. These incidents typically occur because of a driver’s inattention and recklessness. While some play a role in their own injuries due to a false sense of invincibility while walking through parking lots, many others occur as a result of drivers treating yield or stops signs as a safety suggestion than an actual command.
Most supermarkets, shopping malls, stadiums, and college campuses are typically open late into the evening. As such adequate lighting is imperative in preventing accidents. If lighting is poor or non-existent at all, hazards such as uneven pavement that would normally be visible during the daytime can easily be easily overlooked at night. Adequate lighting may also play a huge part in deterring crime, specifically in areas of town in which criminal activity is most frequent. If, under the unfortunate circumstance that a customer or business invitee suffers an injury resulting from an attack, the property owner could be held liable for insufficient lighting and security, especially if the events are reoccurring.
For those who live in Phoenix’s metropolitan area, weather related hazards might not be much of a concern. However, those who live in Northern Arizona may be more susceptible to injury stemming from slip and fall accidents occurring as a result of snow, ice, and rain. It must be noted that property owners are responsible for taking reasonable cautions to mitigate icy and slick hazards. These cautions may include the use of salt to melt icy patches, frequent snow plow removal, and ensuring that there is adequate traction on outdoor and indoor walkways.
Proving Your Claim
Property owners possess a duty of care to keep their premises safe, meaning they are responsible for inspecting and identifying any foreseeable hazard that could potentially cause injury. That said, it has been determined by the courts that it is unfair to hold parking lot owners liable every time an injury occurs do to a slip/trip and fall. Essentially, it would be nearly impossible to discover all cracks, potholes and uneven surfaces that might cause an injury. However, if a dangerous condition should have been reasonably discovered, goes ignored or unrepaired for a reasonable amount of time after being discovered, the owner will be held liable.
With the above in mind, it is important to understand that if you or a loved one suffers a personal injury in a parking lot or garage, it is up to you to prove your claim. Remember, it is important to gather evidence as soon as possible. Such evidence may include:
· Surveillance footage
· Witness statements
· Gathering medical records
It is imperative to hire an aggressive and experienced personal injury attorney if you or a loved one suffers an injury in a parking lot or garage. Proving the owner of the lot knew, or should have known a dangerous condition existed and failed to remedy the condition in a reasonable amount of time can be very tough to do so. For a free consultation, give Torgenson Law a call at (602) 726-0747. We’ll fight for the just compensation you deserve.