Public parking lots and garages are frequently the settings for pedestrian accidents, injuries, and violent crimes. In the United States, 1 in 10 property crimes occurs in parking lots and garages.
Dangers in the Parking Lot
With a large concentration of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, parking lots and garages pose numerous safety hazards.
Distracted drivers are responsible for many pedestrian injuries and fatalities in parking facilities. According to a national safety study, 66% of drivers admit to talking or texting on cell phones, reading emails, checking social media sites, and watching videos while driving through public parking lots and garages. Many drivers don’t take appropriate precautions to prevent hitting pedestrians who suddenly step out between cars or cars backing out of parking spaces because traffic is moving at slow speeds.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are common in public parking lots and garages. Personal injury lawyers often see cuts and abrasions, fractured and broken bones, facial and dental injuries, and head trauma caused by sudden falls on concrete surfaces. In uncovered parking facilities, inclement weather creates dangerous slip and fall conditions for pedestrians. During the winter, freezing temperatures that lead to snow, sleet, and ice are responsible for more than 75% of slip and fall injuries in outdoor parking lots.
Poor lighting and inadequate security are an invitation to criminals in public places. Every year, over 400,000 violent crimes are committed in public parking lots and garages around the country. Crimes include personal theft, robbery, sexual assault and rape, and aggravated assault with the use of firearms. Victims of violent crimes in public parking facilities are often preoccupied with packages and cell phones, so assailants can easily hide between vehicles.
When accidents and injuries occur in public parking facilities, property owners may be liable for damages. Property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and protect patrons from harm. This means anticipating common hazards, conducting periodic property inspections, and making timely repairs.
Parking lots and garages typically have asphalt or concrete surfaces which are subject to cracks from shifting earth, changing weather conditions, and normal wear and tear from traffic. Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent many slip and fall accidents. Adequate lighting and proper security can deter violent crimes.