June 7, 2019
If you need groceries and decide to run some errands, often the last place you’d expect to be injured is the parking lot. Car accidents happen all the time on the road, and the grocery store aisles themselves often pose slip-and-fall risks, but parking lots are often assumed to be safe zones.
If you do get injured in a parking lot, who might be responsible? The answer varies from case to case. Fortunately, we can break down some of the complicated aspects of the issue, from establishing a basic understanding of premises liability to the responsibility a lot owner has to their patrons.
Understanding Premises Liability
If you do get injured in the parking lot on your way into the grocery story, the owner of the lot may be responsible. But that depends on whether or not the owner could create a safe environment for you and the other patrons.
Anyone who owns or is in charge of any place has a responsibility to keep visitors and patrons of their establishment safe.
This concept is the basis for any incident involving premises liability. In any case of injury because of an owner’s inability to foresee or take care of potentially hazardous situations, that owner is likely on the hook because they failed in their obligation to provide a safe environment for the injured party.
Owners and event runners often try to reduce their own liability by putting out disclaimers pertaining to certain risks involved with participating in events held on their premises. Baseball tickets often have warnings about the unpredictable nature of an errant ball’s flight path, and amusement parks have signage cautioning visitors to practice safety on rides and other attractions that may be hazardous.
But even with these disclaimers, the owner may still be liable for an injury that occurs on their property if they failed to address a flagrant issue that fell outside the bounds of assumed risk.
Parking Lot Liability
Right away, it’s important to note that the owner of a parking lot doesn’t always know or have absolute control over what happens within their lot. If you’re injured because someone else hit you with their car or grocery cart while in the lot, then you may have a personal injury issue, but not necessarily a premises liability one.
However, this isn’t to say a lot owner is always free of culpability if you’re injured. If you’re injured because the lot’s lighting was poor at night, and the owner had ample notice of the issue beforehand, then you’ll have an easier time establishing their liability.
Just like with baseball diamonds and amusement parks, parking lot owners may attempt to post disclaimers warning of potential theft or violent crimes occurring on their property. In certain cases, though, they may still face liability if patrons couldn’t have been aware of such warnings ahead of time.
Help from an Indiana Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in a parking lot due to the negligence of the property owners, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.