Injured in a parking lot or ramp? Is the property owner liable?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2023 | Premises Liability

If you’ve just made an arduous journey through traffic, reaching the parking lot or garage outside your destination can feel like a relief – but you may not actually be safe quite yet. The National Safety Council says that tens of thousands of car wrecks happen every year in parking areas – and many of them are serious enough to cause injuries or deaths.

While many of those accidents can be attributed to human error and distracted driving, some may actually be the property owner’s fault. Broadly speaking, every property owner has a certain obligation or legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and to warn visitors of any clear dangers. A parking facility’s owner can end up being at least partially responsible for wrecks on the premises because of things like:

Missing or unclear signage

Imagine, for example, a multi-level parking garage with multiple entrances and exits. If the signs that are supposed to direct traffic along a winding route are missing, poorly placed or simply vague, it’s easy for drivers to get confused – and that can cause one driver to turn directly into the path of another, leading to a wreck. That lack of proper signage could definitely be a liability for the owner.

Inadequate lighting

While drivers can and do rely on their headlights to navigate dark spaces, poor lighting conditions always make it more difficult for drivers to see their surroundings – and that includes spotting other vehicles, hazards in their way and pedestrians. Parking lots and decks are supposed to have strategically placed lights around key areas, especially entrances and exits. If they do not, the owner of the parking facility may be responsible for any accidents.

Poor maintenance

Have you ever tried to navigate a parking lot that felt more like an obstacle course because it’s practically littered with shopping carts, potholes and piles of items for an outdoor sale? When parking lot owners fail to keep their lots maintained and orderly, that can also contribute to wrecks.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in a parking lot, don’t assume you know where the liability for your wreck really lies until you’ve had more time to fully assess the situation and to get some legal assistance.