Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Common Causes of Parking Lot and Parking Garage Injuries

Parking lots and parking garages can be found all over the landscape of America. While they offer easy access to shopping centers, schools, and office buildings, they also pose a unique danger.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in every five car accidents occur in a parking lot or parking garage. These locations typically contain a large amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, leading to a large amount of injuries each year.
Whether you are injured while driving or walking, another person may be liable for your damages, including car damage, medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. In certain cases, the owner of the parking lot or parking garage may be liable for breaching their duty of care to maintain reasonably safe premises.
Although parking lot and parking garage owners cannot be held responsible for all injuries that occur on their property, a failure to maintain reasonably safe premises may be considered negligent. Regardless of whether the property owner or another driver is at fault, an injury can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life.
Some common causes of injuries that can occur in a parking lot or parking garage include:
Poor pavement condition
Parking lot and parking garage owners are required to maintain the condition of their property to avoid foreseeable injuries. This includes filling large cracks and potholes in the asphalt and concrete of the lot or garage and fixing uneven surfaces that can cause pedestrians to trip and fall. Oil spills create an excessively slippery walking surface that can lead to a slip and fall accident, causing a pedestrian to injure themselves. Although snow and ice on the ground is not an issue for Clearwater pedestrians, an excessive buildup of these in areas where the ground commonly freezes poses a danger for those using the parking lot or garage. To avoid being held liable for injuries that occur due to these conditions, the owner of the parking lot or parking garage must act when the danger is made apparent or reported to them. Failing to do so can be considered negligent.
Insufficient lighting
Although a property owner should maintain the condition of their premises to avoid being held liable for injuries caused by those conditions, failing to provide adequate lighting can make pedestrians more susceptible to injuries. When there are cracks, potholes, or curbs that are not clearly visible because of a lack of lighting, someone can easily become injured, especially when natural sunlight is not available. Proper lighting includes sufficient fixtures along the parking lot or parking garage. When lights stop functioning, the property owner must make an effort to repair them within a reasonable time. Darkness not only makes dangers on the ground more dangerous, but also provides criminals the opportunity to lurk under cover. It would be unjustified to expect that the owner of a parking lot or parking garage should be held responsible for crimes committed on their property, but this may be the case when insufficient lighting is a reasonable cause. Since light is a form of deterrent for thieves and attackers, property owners would do well to maintain a proper amount.
Inadequate or ineffective signage
Another main cause of injuries in a parking lot or parking garage is signage that is ineffectively placed or not placed at all. To maintain order for drivers moving through the premises, there must be enough stop and yield signs. Appropriate signage must also be posted to alert drivers of pedestrian crossing areas. These may be signs or markings on the ground strategically placed to maintain the safety of pedestrians.

This is especially true for parking garages with multiple floors. A poor design at turns can contribute to an auto accident involving a pedestrian. When effective signage and adequate space are provided, a driver may be held liable for accidents involving a pedestrian. When signage is not obvious or poor design leads to unclear lines of sight, the property owner may be held partially or fully liable if these hazards contributed to the injury.
Negligent drivers
Not all injuries and accidents are the responsibility of a parking lot or parking garage owner. In situations where the owner of the property has maintained the condition of the premises and provided adequate lighting and signage as is their duty of care, a driver’s negligence may be the cause of injuries sustained on the premises. Whether the driver is distracted, driving recklessly or aggressively, or otherwise not taking proper care while in control of the vehicle, they may be found liable for injuries to another vehicle or person. Speeding through a parking lot or parking garage is dangerous because it may not provide adequate time for the driver to stop or slow down. This may be especially problematic during busy times when it seems that there are not enough parking spaces for all the cars in a lot or garage. Regardless of the situation, a driver must always take appropriate precautions to avoid causing damage to another vehicle or injuries to another driver or pedestrian.
While we should not fear parking lots and parking garages because of some inherent increased risk, we should always take precautions to avoid causing or sustaining injuries to another. This includes driving more slowly in these areas, where pedestrians and cars may be entering or exiting at all times. When walking, we should ensure that the ground in front of us is clear of damages, debris, or slippery substances to avoid tripping or slipping. If possible, alert the property owner of damages that need to be remedied for the future safety of other pedestrians and drivers.
Still, not all responsibility lies with the injured. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a parking lot or parking garage, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to review your case. Whether the injury was caused by unsafe conditions or a negligent driver, you may be able to recover damages.
For a free case evaluation, please call us at (727) 222-6922 or email us through our Contact Us page. At Dolman Law Group, we work to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries. Our work is contingent on the outcome of your case, so we don’t get paid unless you do.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

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