No one expects to go to the store and leave in an ambulance, but store accidents are actually fairly common. Fall accidents may occur both inside and outside a store, such as in the parking lot or parking garage. Whether it’s a slip and fall or trip and fall situation, these kinds of accidents often result in broken bones, back injuries, lower leg injuries and head injuries. Below are common types of parking lot and parking garage accident cases and a corresponding discussion of liability.
It is important to note that there may be multiple defendants in a parking lot/garage accident case. Many retail stores, such as a large shopping mall or strip mall, hire property maintenance companies who may be liable in a fall accident case in a parking lot or garage. Therefore, the store owner, in addition to any property management company, may be liable for negligence in causing a fall accident.
Related: Store Liability for Negligence in Pennsylvania
Liability in Parking Lot & Garage Accident Cases
Parking lots with snow/ice are very dangerous. Under Pennsylvania law, stores have a duty to maintain the premises, including parking lots. This means removing and/or salting parking lots as well as all parking lot walking areas. Depending on the circumstances, liability may attach for failure to perform snow/ice removal in a timely manner or failing to do so properly, resulting in a fall accident.
2. Transitions in Walking Areas
Liability in parking lot walkway fall down accidents commonly involves issues with transition areas (i.e., concrete to asphalt, sidewalk to curb, etc.). Lips, gaps or raised areas between transitions may cause an unsuspecting shopper to trip and fall. The store may be liable under Pennsylvania fall down accident law.
3. Broken/Missing Spaces on Parking Lot Surfaces
If not maintained, asphalt and concrete will deteriorate over time. Cracks can develop into dangerous tripping hazards. Holes and breaks in a walking area or parking space can cause someone to fall and injure themselves. Liability will usually be based on a theory of failure to maintain and inspect the parking lot area.
4. Parking space hazards (barriers, dips/uneven areas)
Within a parking space, there may be slip and trip hazards. For instance, concrete barriers may pose tripping hazards, especially when hidden or obstructed from view.
Stairways in parking garages can be dangerous due to inadequate maintenance. Missing parts of steps, inconsistencies in tread/riser depths, and slip hazards like water or fluid from a leak can cause someone to fall down. Stairway accidents often result in very serious injuries.
6. Elevator – uneven entrance to the elevator (transition)
In parking garages with elevators, a common trip hazard is the lip between the platform and elevator. Large lips or gaps can cause a person to fall. In addition, during inclement weather, mats may be used on the platform and often pose a trip and fall hazard.
There are additional fall down accident scenarios which result in liability of the store or a property management company. Speed bumps may be improperly constructed. There may be slope/gradient issues which create fall hazards. Excessive debris can lead to slip and fall accidents.
The single most important factor in any slip or trip and fall accident case is documenting the cause of the accident. Those injured in such situations cannot rely on the store to take proper note of what occurred. Taking pictures of the defective condition at the time of the accident is crucial and can help prove that the defect caused the accident.
- Tips on What to do After a Slip and Fall Accident
- Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Law – Liability of Stores & Businesses
Philadelphia Fall Down Accident Lawyer 215.925.4451
Schwartz & Blackman has been representing the injured and their families for over thirty years in slip and fall cases.
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Schwartz & Blackman handles fall accident cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:
- PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
- NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.