Personal Injury Law

Parking Lot Injuries: Who is Liable?

The United States Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reports that vehicles kill over 4,000 people each year, and injure another 70,000 in pedestrian-related accidents. A pedestrian is any person who is on foot, walking, running, hiking, joking, sitting, or lying down. This definition, of course, includes those people who are walking in parking lots.

However, parking lot related accidents are often not reported because they do not occur on a roadway. That means that the number of pedestrian deaths and injuries is likely even higher when you consider the number of accidents that occur in parking lots.

Parking Lot Accident Statistics

Often, when researchers discuss pedestrian accidents, or how to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths, the focus is on sidewalks and roadways. Parking lots are often left out of the discussion. This is unfortunate because an alarming number of pedestrian injuries occur in parking lots.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Parking lot injuries in the same study resulted in 15 to 30 percent of all severe injuries for that timeframe.
  • According to another study, roughly 99 deaths and 2,000 injuries occur every year from cars and trucks backing out of parking spaces and hitting pedestrians.
  • Five pedestrian deaths occur every year because a vehicle in a parking lot has been accidentally left in drive after the driver exits the vehicle.
  • Another 106 deaths and 5,000 injuries occurred between pedestrians in parking lots and forward-moving vehicles.
  • Roughly 22 percent of child deaths from ages 5 to 9 are estimated to have occurred while the children were pedestrians in parking lots. Drivers often fail to see children when they are backing up their vehicles.

Although cars are usually slower moving in a parking lot, any accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian can be serious because of the sheer size difference between the two. Parking lots provide a false sense of security for both drivers and pedestrians, causing some safety measures to be completely disregarded.

Other Parking Lot Accident Causes

Drivers are not the only safety hazard in a parking lot. Poorly maintained or designed spaces can also contribute to an accident or injury. Common causes of parking lot accidents include:

  • Driver distraction. Drivers can become too focused on finding a parking spot or are only looking for other cars instead of pedestrians. Because parking lot traffic moves more slowly, drivers may also think that it is okay to be on their phones.
  • Congestion. Parking lots that are poorly designed are more prone to accidents because congestion causes confusion and maneuverability problems.
  • Lack of traffic laws. Many parking lots do not have traffic signs to control drivers, and even if they do, obeying these signs is not legally enforceable. Some drivers will often ignore traffic signs all together.
  • Poorly maintained parking lots. If the parking lot is not maintained well, then that can result in slip and fall accidents as well as problems with controlling a vehicle.

Parking Lot Accident Liability

Liability will vary depending on your specific type of accident. For example, if you have fallen because of a poorly maintained parking lot, then injuries related to your fall are likely going to be the parking lot owner’s responsibility.

However, if you fell because of a poorly maintained parking lot and then someone backs over you with their car after the fall, then both the parking lot owner and the driver will likely be liable.

Checkout What to do After a Car Accident

If there is a car involved, then the driver is almost always going to be at least partially liable. There are situations where the parking lot has been designed poorly or is inherently unsafe. In those situations, the driver or the pedestrian could also try to bring in the parking lot owner as a party to the case as well, even where the actual accident only involved the pedestrian and one vehicle.

Each type of parking lot injury is somewhat unique. A variety of parties could be at fault. If you or a loved one has been injured in a parking lot accident, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible.

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