A parking lot might seem to be one of the places you would least expect to be hurt, but it can actually be very dangerous. You might be going from your car to your favorite store, or simply trying to get through your apartment parking lot to get home, when you trip over something and suffer a severe injury.
If this has happened to you, the attorneys with the Jones Law Group will be ready to help. We have a great deal of experience in premises liability cases, and we can put that extensive knowledge to work on your behalf. If you would like to learn more about us or schedule a free consultation, please give us a call at (727) 571-1333 or contact us online.
The following are 10 of the most common hazards in parking lots that can lead to accidents that can sometimes cause catastrophic injuries.
1. Slippery Surfaces
Property owners have a legal duty to make sure their premises are safe. This means they need to clean up spills, oil and grease spots, and any other substances that could pose a slip and fall risk, whether those occur inside or outside. There are a lot of instances where cars will sit in a parking lot for hours at a time in places such as airports, sporting arenas or amusement parks. If they’re leaking oil, that could definitely lead to an unsuspecting pedestrian slipping.
2. Distracted Drivers
Most people associate distracted driving accidents with highways and city streets, but they can also occur in areas you would normally think would be safe, such as a parking lot. It doesn’t take much for someone to become distracted behind the wheel. They might be changing the channel on their radio, or trying to send a text. Even a momentary lack of focus could lead to a vehicle striking a pedestrian, with potentially devastating consequences.
3. Poor Lighting
Have you ever tried navigating a parking lot with poor lighting? It can be a scary situation. You have no idea whether you’re about to trip over something and be seriously hurt in the process. In fact, lighting is one of the main contributing factors to parking lot trips and falls. Pedestrians can easily stumble over wheel stops, trip over debris, or be in danger from several other hazards.
4. Broken Stairs
When you walk down stairs, of course, you assume that all the steps will be intact. You probably don’t even think of the possibility of hitting the ground because one of those steps gives way as soon as you put your weight on it. Unfortunately, when owners fail to maintain their property, problems like this occur far too often.
There are lots of potential causes of a fall, but a broken stair step is one of the scariest. It can cause someone to violently strike the ground suddenly, with no warning. Since they have no way of protecting themselves, horrible injuries could be the result.
Asphalt parking lots are constantly under a great deal of stress from vehicles and weather conditions. They can easily crack, and they can also develop potholes. An unsuspecting pedestrian could break an ankle or leg, or suffer some other type of severe injury.
There are other ways a failure in an asphalt parking lot can result in big problems. Small ruts or depressions can quickly turn into significant cracks, making one part of the asphalt higher than others. Regardless of the type of danger that exists, property owners have a duty to inspect their parking lots on a regular basis, and make any repairs that may be needed. If they don’t, they could be held liable for any injuries that might result.
6. Reckless Drivers
Crowded parking lots can be incredibly frustrating for people trying to find an open spot. Whether it’s during the holidays or just a random weekend, people can get incredibly angry. They just want to be able to park so they can do what they need to do and get on with their day.
The harder it gets to find a space, the angrier some drivers will get. They might be so laser-focused on trying to get a spot that they’re oblivious to the rest of their surroundings – including any pedestrians who might be present. That greatly increases the chances a driver will make a mistake and hit someone.
7. Missing Handrails
Handrails should always be present whenever any ramps or stairs are present. They’re the last line of defense for someone who loses their balance – when a handrail is missing, that means a serious fall will be inevitable.
8. Lack of Signage
A lack of signage is another huge issue when it comes to parking lot hazards. When there aren’t any stop signs or crosswalks, for example, drivers can easily hit pedestrians. When there isn’t a posted speed limit, motorists will often drive much too fast for their surroundings, risking a collision with a pedestrian or another car.
As stated earlier, property owners are responsible for making their parking lots safe for drivers as well as pedestrians. That means they need to periodically check for any debris that could create an unexpected obstacle and lead to an accident. Something as simple as an empty soft drink cup could lead to a potentially damaging fall.
We obviously get a lot of rain in Florida, and that can lead to slips and falls. When an asphalt parking lot’s drainage system fails, that can lead to depressions or other deformations. When that happens, rain water collects in these areas, increasing the risk of an accident.
Contact Jones Law Group if You’re Injured in a Parking Lot Accident
There is no excuse for a lack of parking lot maintenance that results in an injury. If this has happened to you, please get in touch with the Jones Law Group. We’ll tell you exactly what to expect at every stage of your case, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.