Do I Have a Negligence Claim if I Fall In a Parking Lot?

Parking Lot

A parking lot injury can happen to just about anyone. Unlike driving a tractor trailer, which requires a specialized license, or driving an ordinary motor vehicle, which requires a license issued by the state of your residence, visiting, and traversing a parking lot has no legal prerequisites. It has no age requirements, no restrictions, and no parameters, other than the simple fact that you are visiting a business for some legal purpose. A parking lot accident is frequently thought of as another way of labeling a slip and fall accident. While slip and fall accidents are a very common type of parking lot injury, they are far from the only type. For example, many people traverse the parking lots of Florida each and every day in wheelchairs, electric mobility scooters, medical recovery scooters, and other wheeled mobility aids. Parking lot hazards have caused significant injuries to people who are attempting to access businesses whether on foot or by other means. Given the sheer number of times we interact with parking lots, injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways.

At Mowrey Law Firm, we utilize a comprehensive approach when evaluating the merits of parking lot negligence claims. This includes information that the potential client may not have contemplated before calling our office or meeting with us face to face. While not an exhaustive list, these are a few of the issues we look at when evaluating a parking lot fall and identifying if a potential client has a valid negligence claim.

  1. I fell in a parking lot. Who is responsible? Many times, there are tiers of responsibility when it comes to parking lot negligence claims. For example, a landlord rents a commercial space to a tenant. That tenant signs a ten-year lease. During year four, the tenant decides to sublet the commercial space, and the landlord approves the sublease. During year six of the lease, a significant injury occurs in the parking lot of the business. Who is responsible? There are three potential parties to sue, perhaps more, depending on how the corporations or LLCs are structured. Failure to identify the proper responsible party in a parking lot accident can cause significant problems to your liability claim and your lawsuit. Our firm is experienced in the investigation aspect of claims, and we have utilized these skills to represent slip and fall victims in St. Augustine and throughout Florida.
  2. Is there evidence of the parking lot condition at the time I was injured? Parking lot cameras have increased substantially in the last ten years. With the influx of do-it-yourself camera systems, and the technological advances in camera quality, business owners are installing systems to monitor their properties for security and liability defense purposes. Whether or not this evidence is available, and what it may show, is extremely important to a parking lot claim. At Mowrey Law Firm, we have experience preserving evidence in a timely manner. Contacting our office and speaking with one of our parking lot accident lawyers immediately following your injury greatly increases the chances of preserving valuable evidence for your parking lot claim.
  3. Were you negligent in your own injury? Last year, the law of negligence in the State of Florida changed for the first time in many years. On March 24th, 2023, House Bill 837 was signed into law. This has a direct impact on all negligence claims, including parking lot injury claims. For many years, Florida law did not completely bar your injury claim if you were in part responsible for your injury. Even if your percentage of responsibility was in excess of 50%, you could potentially recover some funds from a jury verdict. However, the law has changed. No longer can you be more than 50% responsible for your own injuries. It is vital that you consult with an experienced attorney who is not only familiar with current Florida law, but who can advise you on the likelihood of success.
  4. Witnesses and bystanders can make all the difference.Be sure to obtain the name and contact information of any witnesses and provide it to our office during your consult. Never presume the parking lot incident report will include all witness information. Don’t let witness information be lost forever. Often these witnesses are the key to prevailing on your claim and obtaining favorable recovery. We frequently speak with clients who are unsure whether a report was even taken. Our attorneys are experienced in obtaining compelling documents that may have been intentionally retained by the business to protect its interests in a lawsuit. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have a parking lot injury and feel information is being withheld or you are not receiving all the information that you know exists.
  5. How much time do I have to file a lawsuit? Slip and fall lawsuits, speed bump lawsuits, and the overall body of slip and fall law and parking lot law must now be analyzed with a multi-step process. First, the attorney should look at the date of the fall to determine the appropriate statue of limitations. Depending on the date of the fall, you may be subject to either a two year or a four-year statute. Time limitations on lawsuits are critical, as they answer the threshold question:  can you sue for a parking lot fall? If you can’t file your lawsuit due to time constraints, it doesn’t matter how good of a case you may have, your recovery will likely be barred.
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