A concrete parking lot can quickly become dangerous due to defects and inclement weather, such as snow and ice. The lack of regular maintenance and neglect to clear parking lots of weather-related hazards may result in pedestrians sustaining severe injuries such as fractures and brain injuries.
Learn who may be liable after you suffer severe injuries from a slip-and-fall accident in a parking lot. The slip and fall attorneys at Catalano Law can help you explore your legal options, including filing a premises liability claim.
According to New York premises liability law, property owners are responsible for ensuring their grounds are free from obvious and potential hazards. Owners must protect against slips and falls to those invited to their premises by inspecting the property and clearing hazards as soon as they are discovered.
If a property owner does not take the appropriate measures to ensure their premises is safe from hazards or warn visitors of the danger, they may be liable for injuries that result from unsafe conditions.
Pursuing a successful premises liability claim requires establishing the following elements:
- The owner was in possession of the property. Under this element, you must prove the property owner was the active owner who was supposed to maintain the property at the time of your slip and fall accident.
- You were legally on the property at the time of the accident. The owner hired you or invited you onto their grounds. Customers of retail establishments, restaurants, and other businesses are invitees onto the property.
- The owner was negligent in fixing the property’s dangerous conditions. You must prove they knew of the hazards but failed to repair them or give adequate warning.
- The property owner’s negligence caused your injuries. For example, if a property owner failed to clear a parking lot of icy hazards and you sustained a severe hip fracture, you and your lawyer must connect the owner’s negligence to your injury.
- The injuries you sustained caused you damages. Your losses may include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe parking lots with ongoing inspections and monitoring for dangerous conditions such as ice and potholes. When they fail to do so, they might be liable for damages in a premises liability claim.
Common ways that property owners are negligent in maintaining parking lots include:
- Icy Surfaces
In the winter, property owners need to monitor the weather for impending storms. They must shovel snow and ice to maintain a clear parking area and provide warnings of icy hazards within a reasonable amount of time after the storm ends. Even if they put minimal effort into removing snow and ice, unsafe conditions could still exist, making them negligent.
For example, a property owner improperly shoveled snow to one side of the parking area, which melted and formed ice. If someone falls on that patch of ice, the owner may be responsible.
- Cracks and Potholes
Snow, rain, and inadequate drainage can cause the asphalt in the parking lot to crack and splinter, creating potholes. Constant wear and tear from traffic can further weaken asphalt and cause extensive cracking. Property owners should regularly inspect their parking lots for these conditions and repair them, if necessary, by clearing them of debris and filling them with asphalt.
- Inadequate Lighting
Any slip and fall hazards present in a parking lot are compounded by poor lighting. Spilled liquids, puddles, asphalt cracks, and broken steps can be impossible to see and avoid in the dark. Without adequate lighting, you may also fail to see the curb or the end of the sidewalk, leading to a slip and fall accident.
Property owners must ensure that all areas of the parking lot are well-lit. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of North America recommends at least 0.1-foot candles for vertical illumination and 0.2 foot-candles for horizontal illumination in parking lots.
The light fixtures should also have a uniformity ratio of 20:1 maximum to minimum. Property owners should also frequently check that bulbs are providing their maximum rated illumination and replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Scattered Debris
A storm with high winds can bring several inches of snow or rain and ends with an accumulation of branches, broken materials, and garbage strewn across your parking lot. Letting debris amass after a storm without a proper cleanup process can create a risky condition that might cause a patron to slip and fall.
Parking lot accidents are easily preventable, but many property owners fail to maintain their lots, resulting in injury to innocent victims. Minimizing fault for the victim and proving negligence is critical to a successful injury claim. Having skilled and experienced legal representation on your side can improve the outcome of your case.
As a successful and established law firm, we offer complimentary case evaluations and legal representation at no upfront cost to our clients. Contact us today to request a free consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting a Catalano Law personal injury attorney to investigate your slip and fall claim.