Many different conditions can result in a slip and fall. A parking lot slip and fall may be a result of careless maintenance, poor lighting, cracks, uneven surfaces, bumpers, or a slippery substance like oil. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in a parking lot, you may be able to recover damages. Travis G. Black is a tenacious California personal injury lawyers who can evaluate your case and represent you as needed.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Parking Lots
All property owners owe a duty to use reasonable care to keep their property safe for visitors. The degree of this duty varies depending on the visitor’s status on the property and the foreseeability of an accident. When a slip and fall occurs in a parking lot, you may be able to hold the property owner or occupier responsible for your injuries. For example, a restaurant owner might be responsible for inadequate lighting that results in your tripping over a bumper or pothole after eating dinner at the restaurant. Similarly, a property owner might be responsible for failing to patch a crack or hole in the concrete if it results in your falling.
A property owner or occupier is negligent if it fails to use reasonable care to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, which includes taking steps to find dangerous conditions and either repairing them or providing warnings about them. Generally, a premises liability claim in California requires a plaintiff to show that:
- The defendant controlled the property through ownership, leasing, occupation, or some other method;
- The defendant failed to use reasonable care in maintaining or using the property;
- The plaintiff was injured as a result; and
- The defendant’s negligence served as a substantial factor in causing the injuries.
In order to be considered negligent, a property owner needs to have actually or constructively known about the danger. There is no liability for an owner who took reasonable steps to find dangers but did not find them. In most cases, your attorney will need to show constructive notice — that the owner should have known about the dangerous condition in the parking lot had they taken reasonable steps to discover it. In some cases, this can be proven by showing how long the condition existed in a specific location. For example, a surveillance video might capture that a bulb had burned out in the parking lot and had not been replaced for a month. If you tripped over a crack in the dark parking lot, you may be able to prove constructive notice and negligence on the part of the property owner.
You may be able to recover compensatory damages after a slip and fall. These damages can include compensation to put you back into the position where you would have been had you not slipped in the parking lot. Damages may include past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, lost earning capacity, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
Often, property owners try to find ways in which an accident victim was at fault. This is because your damages may be reduced by your percentage of fault under the doctrine of comparative negligence. For example, a jury might find you comparatively negligent if you were not looking where you were going or if you saw the hazardous condition in advance but went toward it anyway.