Parking Lot & Parking Garage Accidents
Most often when we pull into a parking lot or parking garage, our top concern is the safety of our car. We worry whether another driver will ding or scratch one of the doors, or if someone will break a window to steal the radio.
But parking lots and parking garages can present dangers to us as well as to our cars. It’s not uncommon for people to suffer serious injuries in a slip and fall in a parking lot or garage, or even to become the victim of a violent crime such as an assault when the owner or manager is negligent in providing security.
The owners or operators of parking lots and parking garages have a duty to make the premises reasonably safe. They should repair problems when they become known, such as repairing holes in the concrete, or warn visitors about dangerous conditions such as slippery surfaces. When the parking lot or garage is located in an area where there’s a history of crime, or if there’s a history of crime at the lot or garage itself, the owner or operator should take steps to make the premises more secure, such as installing lighting or cameras or hiring security personnel.
Conditions that often may be present in parking lots or garages that can cause injury include:
- Inadequate lighting
- Inadequate maintenance
- Design or construction defects
- Inadequate security
Liability for Injuries
When an owner or operator fails to take reasonable steps to make the parking lot or garage safe and someone gets seriously hurt — such as someone suffering a broken leg or torn meniscus after tripping and falling because of a pothole — the owner or operator may be negligent and liable for the visitor’s injuries.
If you’ve been injured because of unsafe conditions in a parking lot or garage resulting from negligence by the owner or operator, you may be able to make a premises liability claim and recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Disability and disfigurement
- Loss of normal life
However, in Illinois the owner or operator may not be liable for your injuries when:
- You knew about the hazard before you were hurt
- The hazard was open and obvious
- The hazard was something you could reasonably be expected to have discovered
- The owner or operator didn’t know about the hazard and couldn’t reasonably be expected to foresee it
- You created the hazard through misuse of the property
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you suffered serious injuries because of an accident or because you were the victim of a violent crime in a parking lot or parking garage, an experienced Chicago premises liability attorney can discuss with you whether you may have a claim for compensation. An attorney can help you through the claims process in a number of ways. First, a personal injury lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your injury and compile the evidence you’ll need to prove the parking lot or parking garage owner or operator was negligent. Your lawyer then can submit your claim to the appropriate insurance companies and negotiate for a settlement. If a settlement can’t be reached, your lawyer can file a premises liability lawsuit and take your case to court.