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Considering our holiday shopping lists, this might be the busiest time of year for parking lots. And considering the weather, the amount of traffic, and the opportunism of criminals, this might also be when parking lots are at their most dangerous.
Here's a look at the legal liability for parking lots and stores for slip-and-fall injuries, car accidents, and criminal activity:
The legal principle of premises liability means that property owners have a duty to maintain their property, and are therefore responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. And this liability can extend to the parking lot outside of a store.
That means if the management knew or should have known the lot would be slippery (based on weather reports or usual conditions in the parking lot) and the store or lot owner failed to shovel, de-ice, or otherwise make the space safe, it may be responsible for medical expenses, lost work time, and maybe more if you slip and fall in the store parking lot.
If a parking lot car accident bends more than your fender, you may have a case against the other driver or the lot owner. The owner or management company should make sure the lot is in good condition and clear of any known dangers. And for the most part, car-on-car collisions in parking lots are treating like accidents out on the open road.
Make sure you stay calm and ensure that anyone who is injured, including you, receives adequate medical attention. If possible, exchange information with any other drivers or pedestrians involved, and do your best to document the accident as accurately as possible with photos, witness statements, and police reports.
Lot of Crime
In some recent cases, retailers have been found liable for crimes that occur in their parking lots. This liability generally hinges on how foreseeable the crime was; meaning those parking lot owners in high crime areas or those whose lots have been the scene of the crime previously could be on the hook for any injuries from robberies or assaults in their lots.
If you've been injured in a parking lot and wonder if you might have a legal claim to damages, consult an experienced personal injury attorney near you.