Parking Lot Falls
Parking lots are part of everyday life here in sunny Florida where most everyone drives their car (or truck or minivan) to work; to run errands; to shop; to school; or to have fun on the weekends. In the course of an average day, Florida drivers interact with parking lots (and parking garages) without much consideration of the dangers that parking lots bring with them — until they or someone they love is hurt from falling or slipping and tripping in a lot.
Under Florida law, parking lots are considered “zones of danger.” Here are some of the most common causes of Florida parking lot falls and things that cause people to get hurt in these accidents:
1. Wheel stops
Wheel stops, or tire stops, are those 3-foot long concrete log barriers placed at the head of a parking space. It’s important that these wheel stops are easy to see by those walking in the lot because people can be seriously hurt by tripping and falling over an unseen wheel stop.
Parking lot wheel stops should be in line and properly placed, so everyone knows where to expect a tire stop to be and can depend upon the wheel stop to sit where it’s supposed to be. (Sometimes, cars and trucks can move these things and lot attendants should fix this when it happens.)
Additionally, parking lot wheel stops need to be easy to spot at a glance. They should be eye-catching in ways like having a good paint job and being an acceptable height to stop the car tire but not so high as to be a barrier for a child or elder person to step over while walking though the lot.
2. Handicap ramps
Handicap ramps exist to help those who are temporarily or permanently injured in some way, and they are a good thing. However, it is ironic how these ramps that exist to help injured and incapacitated people can sometimes cause harm themselves.
Handicap ramps often cause people to slip and fall when the ramp protrudes into a parking area without there being good markings that this is a handicap access area. If there are not sufficient signs, painted lot areas, etc., to let the public know that they are near a handicap zone, then they may not be aware of the handicap ramp and a fall results.
3. Spacing of cars
The AIA (American Institute of Architects) deems a reasonable parking lot to have spaces that are 18 feet deep and 9 feet wide, with at least 24 feet between rows of parked cars. While the experts suggest this standard parking lot spacing rule, there is no Florida law that mandates the exact spacing of cars in a parking lot here. There is also no legal standard for pedestrian walkways within a parking lot in Florida.
Bad spacing (to get more cars into the parking lot) happens all the time. Jamming cars into a parking lot will lead to more slip and falls in that lot. Why? In any parking lot, the reality is that parked cars block a good view of objects and hazards as you are walking through the lot. However, this danger is much higher when the parking lot design is trying to get as many cars as possible into the lot and it’s even more risky when the lot is not providing pedestrian walkways as part of the parking lot design.
4. Unpainted speed bumps
Speed bumps are good because they fight against cars speeding too fast through a parking lot. However, if they aren’t painted so they are easily seen especially at night or during a storm, it’s easy to trip and fall over an unpainted speed bump in a parking lot. Additionally, speed bumps that are aggressive in trying to keep cars moving slowly through the lot can be higher than expected - both for the driver as well as the person walking through the lot.
People are hurt all the time here in Florida in falls from slipping or tripping over high and hazardous parking lot speed bumps.
5. Condition of parking lot
Not all parking lots are asphalt. Some are grass in a mowed field here in Florida. Grass parking lots must also be well-kept and maintained for the safety of those using them.
If there are any hazards in a Florida parking lot, no matter grass or paved, the lot owner should make every reasonable effort to warn those using the parking lot of these dangers. The parking lot owner also has a duty to protect those who are merely walking through the parking lot to their destination as well as those parking their vehicles in the lot.
Every Florida parking lot needs to be easily seen both in the day and at night. Spaces need to be clearly defined and walking areas need to be easily used. All hazards and potential dangers need to be accompanied by a warning to the public of the potential for harm. The duty to keep people safe in a Florida parking lot is ongoing and lot owners have a continuous duty to keep up the condition of the parking lot.
Florida Parking Lot Injury Claims
Building codes exist that require owners and operators of parking lots in South Florida to maintain and keep these lots safe for daily operations. If someone is hurt in a parking lot, they may have an injury claim against more than one defendant for neglecting to keep up that parking lot as well as failing to adhere to code requirements. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Florida parking lot, then it may be wise for you to investigate the possibility that you can assert a claim for damages and justice regarding your harm.
Quick Slip And Fall Facts:
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Since 1982, Alan Sackrin has represented clients throughout Florida in recovering monetary damages for slip & fall, trip & fall, and other premises liability injuries. Alan is a reputable Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer that strives to protect the rights and best interest of his clients. Alan brings a high-level of skill and representation to slip and fall cases. He offers a free and informative consultation, so call him today at 954-458-8655.
Related Slip and Fall Topics
Please feel free to read our other slip and fall (trip and fall) related articles and fact sheets, including:
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