Slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere at any time. These accidents usually happen quickly and without warning.
Slipping and falling can occur quickly, but you may feel the repercussions of your accident for a long period afterward.
If you fall in a parking lot, do not hesitate to discuss your case with a qualified slip and fall accident attorney. A lawyer can review the details of your case and provide proper guidance and direction to assist in your pursuit of favorable compensation.
Why Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen in Parking Lots?
When most people think of slips and falls, they think of accidents that happen indoors, like slipping on wet, slippery floors. A slip and fall can happen almost anywhere, including outdoor spaces like parking lots.
Slips and falls in parking lots can happen for many reasons, some of which include:
- Broken or cracked pavement
- Inadequate signage
- Loose debris on walkways
- Improper lighting
- Wet surfaces
Additionally, defects in the design of a parking lot can increase the likelihood of accidents, such as:
- Improperly placed wheel stops
- Parking spaces too close together
- Speed bumps not clearly marked or painted
- Poorly designed wheel-chair accessible ramps
Slip and fall accidents are generally preventable. With proper design and maintenance, these accidents can happen much less frequently.
Injuries Often Resulting from Outdoor Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents can result in significant injury, especially when they occur outside.
Some of the injuries parking lot slip and fall accident victims are at risk of suffering include:
- Deep lacerations
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Joint injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal injuries
Some injuries from parking lot slip and fall accidents require immediate medical treatment to avoid further complications. Compilations from injuries can include, but are not limited to, cognitive issues, nerve damage, and paralysis.
Seek medical care after a slip and fall, even if you don’t immediately believe you suffered an injury. Some accident injuries can take some days to manifest, and the days without treatment can cause the issue to develop or worsen.
Who’s Responsible for a Slip and Fall in a Parking Lot?
Parking lots are usually private property. For this reason, you must determine who owns the lot where your accident happened. The parking lot owner is usually responsible for what happens on their property.
Along with or aside from the parking lot’s owner, other parties may be totally or partially responsible for your slip and fall, including:
- Occupiers: Sometimes, the property owner isn’t the one actually using the property. When tenants occupy the property, they may be liable for accidents in their parking lots.
- Landlords: Landlords have certain responsibilities to keep property safe for tenants and visitors. When they fail to uphold these duties, they should be responsible for accidents on the property.
- Governmental entities: Some parking lots are city or government-owned, which means a governmental entity will be liable for your accident. Pursuing compensation from governments can be tricky and requires a skilled accident attorney.
Determining liability for your parking lot slip and fall is critical. Without investigating who is responsible for your accident, you will not have the opportunity to seek and obtain a successful monetary settlement for your related losses.
Understanding Premises Liability Law
Premises liability is the broad area of law that covers cases involving accidents and injuries on another’s property. This area of law falls under the umbrella of personal injury, also called tort law, which protects victims who have suffered injuries due to another party’s wrongdoings.
Premises liability laws, requirements, and procedures vary by state.
In many cases, to have a successful claim, you must show:
- There was a dangerous condition on the property
- The property owner or occupier was negligent
- Because of the negligence, you suffered harm
A slip and fall attorney has the familiarity, skills, and resources to take your case and seek the best possible outcome.
Showing there was a dangerous condition on the property that led to your fall is usually where you’ll start with your premises liability claim. Dangerous conditions depend on the specifics of your incident but can include any of the reasons mentioned above for slips and falls in parking lots.
Determining what caused the incident is the first step in your claim for compensation. Once you know why your fall happened, your attorney can decipher whether you have a valid claim and if so, move on to establishing the responsible party’s negligence.
Just because a dangerous condition existed in the parking lot does not automatically mean you’d have a premises liability claim. You must show the connection between the condition and the responsible party’s wrongdoings.
Generally, you’ll show the liable party:
- Created the condition
- Didn’t properly inspect their property to find the hazard
- Failed to warn visitors about the condition
- Didn’t fix or remove the risk
While dangerous conditions can result from intentional actions, negligence is often at the center of premises liability cases. When a party is negligent, it means they have failed to act in a way that a similarly situated party should have acted.
To prove negligence, you must satisfy the necessary elements, which include:
- Duty: The responsible party owed you a legal duty of care
- Breach: The party’s actions or omissions caused them to breach their duty
- Causation: The breach was the cause of your parking lot slip and fall
- Damages: You suffered injuries and losses as a result of your fall
Some states involve a status-based approach to determining whether a property owner or occupier owed you a legal duty of care and, if so, what duty.
The legal statuses for a person on someone’s property are:
- Invitee: An invitee is someone invited onto someone’s property for business or financial reasons. Owners and tenants owe invitees the highest duty of care to protect against hazardous conditions, including inspecting, fixing, and warning.
- Licensee: A licensee is on a person’s property for social, non-business reasons. Owners and occupiers owe them a lesser duty of care but must still warn of known dangers on the property.
- Trespasser: A trespasser has no legal right to be on another’s property. Owners and tenants do not owe trespassers any duty of care.
When you are considered an invitee or licensee, you must look at the duties owed to each and determine whether the responsible party breached their duty. This establishes negligence as the basis of your claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the insurance company denies your claim or fails to make a favorable settlement offer based on the value of your case, you may need to proceed with filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Your slip and fall attorney will typically start by sending the insurance company a demand letter. In your demand letter, your lawyer will include details about the incident, how their insured is at fault, and the value of your claim.
They’ll end the letter by asking the insurance company to settle your claim and advise you will take further legal action if they refuse.
After receiving the letter, the insurance company has multiple options. They can either settle the claim for your lawyer’s requested amount or engage in settlement negotiations to try to settle fairly. The insurer can also deny the request altogether.
If the insurance company refuses to settle for a favorable amount, your lawyer will not shy away from filing a personal injury lawsuit. Throughout your case, your attorney will work to gather pertinent evidence and strengthen your claim.
Your attorney can revisit settlement negotiations at any time before your case goes to trial. A majority of personal injury cases settle before they go to court. While filing a lawsuit may mean waiting a little longer for compensation, it can give you the best possible chance of obtaining a fair case result.
Damages for Parking Lot Slip and Fall Cases
Your damages are tied to your accident-related injuries and losses. Therefore, the damages you receive vary based on the details of your situation.
Damages cover your monetary and non-monetary losses.
You may obtain compensation for:
- Past and future medical care
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
Several details affect how much your case is worth.
Your lawyer must calculate your damages and figure out the value of your case by examining:
- The injuries you sustain from your fall
- How your injuries affect you physically and mentally
- Whether your injuries have affected your ability to work in the short or long-term
- The cost of your medical care
- Whether you’ll require medical treatment in the future
- Any other tangible or intangible losses you suffered as a result of your slip and fall
Understanding the value of your case can help ensure you don’t settle for less than your claim is worth. A slip and fall attorney can evaluate your case and calculate damages to pursue the fairest possible result.
Evidence for Slip and Fall Accident Cases
Evidence can play a significant role in personal injury cases, including slip and falls.
As soon as possible, start collecting evidence you may find important, like:
- Photos and videos of the scene and your injuries
- Witness contact information
- Information regarding the location and party responsible for the lot
Also, be sure to document anything relating to your case, such as the specifics of your injuries and your symptoms and pain. Jot down everything you remember from the accident as memories fade over time.
As your case progresses, more evidence, like medical bills and records, becomes available. Your lawyer can request and obtain evidence to benefit your case and use it to your advantage.
A Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help With Your Parking Lot Slip and Fall Case
Following your slip and fall, consult with a slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. You may experience confusion and stress and feel unsure of what to do or where to turn. A lawyer can provide clear direction and guidance as they aggressively pursue a favorable case result on your behalf.
Time is limited to take action, as states only provide a short time to file legal claims for personal injury cases. This is one of the reasons why it’s critical to seek legal guidance as quickly as possible to begin working on your case right away.
After a slip and fall, you don’t have to take on the burden of your compensation claim. Rely on a slip and fall lawyer to protect your rights and fight for the financial recovery you need and deserve.
When you call a personal injury lawyer in Miami, you can set up a free case evaluation. The attorney will evaluate what happened and advise whether you have the right to seek compensation. They will also answer your questions and provide immediate peace of mind.