Slip-and-fall accidents are so commonplace that they rarely get a mention in the newspapers and yet they are the nation’s second most common type of accidents.
Even though slip-and-fall accidents do not result in fatalities that often, they can certainly cause devastating injuries that can have a significant impact on the life of you and your family.
If you think that negligence was involved in your slip-and-fall accident, making a personal injury claim is your best chance of coping with the financial impact of the accident.
The best way to maximize your chances is to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Parking Lots are Accident Prone
Slip and fall accidents happen when the ground is uneven, wet or slippery and that describes too many parking lots.
Ideally, owners of parking lots should make sure they are flat and even, with nothing that can trip people over when they go to and from their vehicles.
Parking lots experience a lot of wear and tear and owners don’t always pay sufficient attention to maintenance.
These are common slip-and-fall hazards in parking lots that can trip up the unwary pedestrian:
- cracks in the surface;
- speed bumps that are unnecessary (there are better ways of slowing vehicles down);
- tire stops;
- potholes that haven’t been filled in;
- oil and antifreeze spills, typically where cars have been parked;
- gratings and drain holes;
- rainwater from heavy rain and is allowed to accumulate;
- snow and ice in winter that isn’t cleared away.
Slip-and-fall Injuries in Parking Lots
When a slip-and-fall happens, it is rarely expected. Because it happens suddenly, you tend to fall awkwardly. Injuries to the arms and wrists are common as you try and break your fall.
Ankles can easily be wrenched. More serious injuries happen if you fall on your back or hit your head.
Back and spinal injuries as well as injuries to the brain are the most serious types of injuries as they take much longer to heal, while cuts and bruises are relatively minor and even broken bones will heal after a month or two.
Establishing Fault in a Parking Lot Slip and Fall
If you intend claiming for damages after a slip-and-fall accident, it is vital that you get help from an experienced accident lawyer who understands the state’s liability laws thoroughly.
Claiming compensation in slip-and-fall cases is never easy. First of all, it is important to collect as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident.
Photos taken of the hazard at the time of the accident and witness contact details are extremely useful evidence if you can get them. A successful claim will depend on establishing who was to blame for the hazard.
The onus is on the plaintiff in a slip-and-fall claim to determine that someone or several people allowed the hazard to be present and knew that it was potentially hazardous.
The plaintiff must also be able to show that the defendant(s) either did nothing to repair the hazard or warn users of the parking lot of the hazard.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced attorney can make all the difference in achieving a satisfactory settlement. They understand the state’s personal injury laws, especially those related to premises liability and the at fault laws.
They can collect evidence, and arrange for discovery where information about what the defendant(s) knew about the hazard has to be made available.
They can obtain depositions from witnesses and other people concerned with the accident, including the defendant.
They can negotiate with the defendant(s) and the insurance company which provides the defendant with liability insurance and they can advise on the state’s statute of limitations, which is especially critical if the parking lot is owned by the city, state or federal agency.