Parking lots can present hazards for both motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians. One of the hazards associated with parking lots is that space is usually at a premium. Parking lots can also be dark and not very well lit. Also, for whatever reason, many drivers tend to drive at the same speed in a parking lot as they do on a roadway or highway. This obviously presents a serious hazard to other motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians who are also present in the parking lot.
If you have suffered injuries in a parking lot accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation. The Clearwater personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can investigate the circumstances of your accident and can determine whether or not you have a valid legal claim. If you do have a compensable claim, our litigation attorneys may be able to represent you during settlement negotiations, as well as during hearings and trials.
Common Parking Lot Hazards
Parking lots contain many hazards which have the potential to lead to serious accidents and injuries. Some of those hazards include:
- Poor lighting
- Tight corners
- Sharp turns
- Improperly maintained conditions
- Low or limited visibility
- Unmarked (or not clearly marked) driving and parking lanes
- Negligent motor vehicle drivers
These hazards can result in parking lot accidents which may involve motor vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents, and slip-and-fall accidents, to name just a few.
Although in many cases, motor vehicle drivers are clearly responsible for pedestrian accidents in parking lots, pedestrians are sometimes wholly or partially to blame. In other cases, the parking lot owner or manager may be fully or partially responsible for the accident. This is especially true if the accident resulted from poor lighting, limited visibility, or improper maintenance. Assessing fault in a Clearwater parking lot accident case requires a careful examination of the facts and circumstances.
Motor Vehicle Driver Negligence
In Florida, an injured accident victim (e.g., a driver or pedestrian) proves negligence by showing that another driver owed a duty of care, violated that duty, and directly brought about certain injuries and damages.
Negligent drivers can be held responsible for a parking lot accident if they engage in distracted driving, fail to obey traffic signs and signals posted in the lot or garage (e.g., speed limit, stop, do not enter, one way, and yield signs), or engage in impaired or intoxicated driving. Distracted driving may involve turning one’s eyes away from the road, listening to loud music in the car, “rough housing” with others in the car, or using a cellular phone for calling or texting while driving. Engaging in any one of these activities diverts a driver’s attention away from the parking lot and prevents him or her from observing a pedestrian or other vehicle in the way. This is a recipe for disaster in a parking lot or parking garage setting.
If you have sustained injuries in a parking lot—either as a driver or as a pedestrian—resulting from another driver’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against that negligent driver. You may do this if you have exhausted your own $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits or if you sustained a permanent or debilitating injury in your parking lot accident.
Negligent Property Owners
The owners and managers of the certain property, including parking lots and garages, have a duty to ensure that their property is maintained in a reasonably safe condition for parking lot patrons. Moreover, owners and managers have a duty to warn patrons of dangerous conditions, and if necessary, to take the proper actions to remove or correct these dangerous conditions.
For example, a property manager may need to post a sign or warning placard near a pothole or other hazard located in a parking lot. Finally, the property owner or manager must have sufficient notice and a sufficient amount of time to correct the hazardous condition.
Parking lot owners and managers should also ensure that their premises are well lit at all times, in order to help prevent motor vehicle, pedestrian, and slip-and-fall accidents from occurring in the first place.
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Fault on the Accident Victim’s Part
In some parking lot accident cases, the accident victim may cause or contribute to the injuries and damages sustained. This is especially true in the case of pedestrian accidents which occur in parking lots.
Although driver negligence is a common cause of pedestrian accidents in parking lots and garages, in some cases, pedestrians may be wholly—or partially—to blame for the accident.
Common examples of pedestrian negligence in parking lots and garages include failing to walk in designated pedestrian areas, failing to obey pedestrian signs posted in the lot/garage, or carelessly walking into the flow of traffic.
In cases where it is difficult to determine who was at fault for a parking lot accident, Florida uses a pure comparative negligence standard to apportion fault. In Florida, an injured accident victim can still recover for his or her injuries in a parking lot or parking garage accident even if deemed eighty percent (80%) at fault for the accident. In that case, the injured pedestrian would still be entitled to ten percent (20%) of the available damages.
Call a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Parking Lot Accident
Parking lot accidents can result in serious injuries. This is especially true if you were a pedestrian. Unlike motor vehicle drivers and passengers, pedestrians do not have a “shell” or other covering surrounding them. Consequently, they are directly exposed to the ground with which they are likely to suffer a direct impact.
If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, you need skilled legal representation throughout your entire case. The experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can investigate the facts of your case, determine fault, and assess damages.
To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Clearwater personal injury lawyer, please call us today or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765