The United States is a highly populated and densely developed country, and for nearly every mall, school, or apartment building, there is a parking lot that grants people access to these premises. Parking lots are convenient places to leave a vehicle while people go about their daily business, but they can also be potentially hazardous. Every year, many people are hurt from accidents or attacks that take place in parking lots.
As a public place, premises liability laws can be applied to owners of parking lots. People have a right to assume a certain degree of safety in a parking lot. If negligence on the part of the parking lot owner contributes to an injury, the owner may be held accountable for the damages that stem from that injury. The experienced attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are happy to discuss premises liability and parking lots, and how our Provo, UT clients can ensure they are justly compensated for the damages of injuries sustained in a parking lot.
Duty of Care
Premises liability laws are based on the understanding that property owners must adhere to a certain legal duty of care. This does not mean that every property needs to be completely free of hazards or dangers, as that expectation would be nearly impossible to meet.
However, property owners do need to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe. Reasonably safe means that the property is free of known hazards, and that adequate care is taken to address dangerous conditions once the property owner is made aware of them. These premises liability laws apply to all areas of the property, including the parking lot.
Parking Lot Hazards
Accidents and injuries are common in parking lots. There are many factors that can contribute to these injuries. Some of the most common parking lot hazards include the following:
- Poor lighting: A dark parking lot can be a dangerous place. Poor lighting often contributes to trips and falls. Poor lighting is also ideal for criminal activity, as it makes it easier for criminals to hide. As a result, poor lighting increases the risk of robbery and physical assault.
- Damaged pavement: Parking lots are used by many cars on any given day, so it is not surprising that parking lot pavement often becomes damaged. While a property owner cannot be held responsible for every little crack, they must regularly inspect the property and repair obvious damage. Large cracks, potholes, and damaged wheel stops can all increase the risk of a fall or other injuries.
- Inadequate or poor signage: Inadequate or poor signage is a particular concern for enclosed parking garages. When multiple cars are enclosed in a small space, improper signage can increase the risk of a car accident or pedestrian injury. While negligent drivers can be held responsible for these accidents, premises liability laws also often apply.
- Inadequate security: Parking lot owners are not legally obligated to provide security personnel. However, if a parking lot is especially large, if crime is an issue in the area, and if the property owners have significant profit each year, it is reasonable to expect security to be provided. Inadequate security can increase the risk of criminal activity, including assault.
Proving Premises Liability
Premises liability cases can be complex. It is up to the injury victim to prove that negligence on the part of the property owner caused or contributed to injuries and damages. Our attorneys are experienced in premises liability cases and will collect the evidence that is necessary to prove liability and collect the damages our clients deserve.
If you have been injured in a parking lot and would like to learn more about premises liability laws, contact us at your earliest convenience. The attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton will listen to the details of your case and advise you on your best course of legal action.