Recently, a New Jersey woman won over $500,000 in settling her case against the local Dunkin Donuts. She had sustained serious injuries after tripping over a spike in the parking lot three years ago; specifically, she was carrying very hot coffee when she tripped over a metal rebar spike from a dislodged curb, getting severely burned and sustaining injuries that required surgery.
If it had not settled, the case would have gone to trial later this month. The incident highlights just how important it is for business owners to keep all premises safe for customers, and that includes outside parking lots.
Injuries in Parking Lots and Garages
Many of us know that when you enter an enclosed parking garage, you take a ticket that typically limits the liability of the garage owners for any lost or damaged property (referring to your car and anything in it). But what about injuries to you?
Not only are there serious slip and fall and related accidents that happen to people in parking lots every year, but many car accidents themselves occur in these locations. There’s no disclaimer that can be signed away in these cases; if you are hurt due to someone else’s (or a business’ negligence), they can be held liable for your medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endure. They must exercise a reasonable duty of care, which includes fixing known hazards like the one this victim injured herself on—particularly if the hazard has been there for a while and/or injured others.
Of the many accidents that occur in parking lots, damaged or dislocated stops are a huge source of them. Other causes include insufficient lighting, poor signage, damaged stairways or elevators, a lack of security, and others.
Litigating these cases and proving negligence can be tricky. A successful claim relies on proving that the property owner knew of the hazard and knowingly failed to address it. You also have to prove that the hazard wasn’t so obvious that you clearly could have avoided getting injured. Although many business owners have commercial property insurance to cover injury claims, funds from these policies will rarely cover any expenses you incur beyond your medical bills, such as lost wages.
Solnick & Associates
These types of accidents are by no means limited to parking lots; millions of people are injured each year in hotels, from dog attacks, sidewalks, potholes, swimming pools, and other property-related hazards.
The Pennsylvania premises liability lawyers at Solnick & Associates represent people who have been injured in slip and fall accidents, swimming pools, and other defective or unsafe in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, including Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties, as well as New Jersey.