With elderly residents, snowbirds and vacationers all part of a volatile mix, Florida parking lots are a notorious place for car accidents and pedestrian accidents.
Our legal team has blogged recently about distracted drivers and the high risks of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Florida parking lots is where all those risks converge and the road rules too often go out the window.
Legal Liability for Palm Beach Parking Lot Accidents
Those seeking legal help are best served by finding a Palm Beach law firm experienced in handling both car accident litigation and premises liability cases. Some cases may even involve both types of law; for instance, an accident might be caused by both a distracted driver and a property owner who fails to maintain adequate parking lot lighting.
Safety and Health magazine recently reported that drivers are more likely to be distracted in parking lots than on surface streets. In other words, drivers put their guard down precisely when the presence of pedestrian traffic, children, and other distractions and obstructions should have their full attention.
The most common reasons for parking lot accidents include distraction, speeding, inadequate lighting, inadequate sidewalks or design, and lack of proper directional and warning signs.
Staying Safe in Florida Parking Lots
Motorists should take special care to look for young children and older adults, the two groups that have the highest likelihood of a parking lot injury. Parents should hold hands with young children and teach them that cars may move with little or no warning.
The Florida Department of Transportation reports residential parking lots are the most dangerous, perhaps because such lots are a common place for children to play and often feature winding, irregularly shaped roads and parking areas. However, the most common places for these accidents continue to be retail, business and gas station parking lots.
For accidents and injuries that do not involve a vehicle, property owners typically owe a particular duty of care to a plaintiff, depending on whether he or she is a public or business invitee, an invited or uninvited guest or a trespasser. Generally, business invitees are owed the highest duty of care under Florida law, which requires businesses and land owners to protect invitees from hazards an owner knows about, or should have known about, so long as that danger is not open and obvious.
Florida has taken steps in recent years to make it harder to sue businesses for slip and fall accidents that occur as a result of wet floors or spills. In such cases, the plaintiff must now prove a business had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition and should have taken action to remedy it.
Negligent security claims may also arise from parking lot injuries, such as in cases where an assault occurs in a darkened parking lot or an area known to be dangerous. Employers may also have a duty to escort employees to their vehicles after hours, or to take other steps to make sure employees and guests enjoy a reasonable expectation of security while visiting a business.
Identifying responsible parties is a critical first step to making a claim for damages in the wake of a parking lot injury. In the event of an accident, contact attorney David J. Glatthorn for a free consultation.