Is Your Parking Lot Safe?

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parking lot safe

Parking lots may not be pretty to look at, but for those who drive, parking lots are an essential structure type. But parking lots, while they may be useful, also have the potential to be dangerous. To be sure, EHS reports that 500 deaths a year occur to drivers and pedestrian in parking lots and parking garages, and this figure does not include injuries and accident that are suffered in non-vehicle-related manners.

Whether you are the manager/owner of a parking lot or someone who uses a parking lot regularly, you need to consider whether or not your parking lot is safe.

Common Parking Lot Dangers

As highlighted by the source above, one of the most common parking lot dangerous–and the one that surely comes to mind–is the risk of a car or pedestrian accident. While most parking lot accidents occur while vehicles are traveling at low speeds, clearly, these accidents have the potential to be fatal. But in addition to accidents involving motor vehicles, parking lots can also serve as the location for:

  • Slips, trips, and falls;
  • Assault;
  • Robbery;
  • Vehicle break ins; and
  • Sexual assault.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that one in 10 property crimes occur in parking lots/parking garages, and the Women-Safe Network shares that 25 percent of rapes take place in parking garages or other public areas.

Risk Factors that Increase the Chance of an Accident

There are some things that parking lot managers/owners can do to make parking lots safer and reduce the risk of any of the accident types listed above. These include:

  • Posting signs informing drivers to drive slowly, and posting yield/stop signs where appropriate;
  • Making sure parking lots/garage are well-lit;
  • Enhancing security with 24/7 video recording;
  • Adding a security guard if incidents have been reported or/and the parking lot is in a dangerous area of Georgia;
  • Making sure parking lot surfaces are well-maintained;
  • Regularly cleaning parking lots and surveying them for defects to prevent slip and falls; and
  • Securing parking lots/parking garages overnight with locked fences and gates.

Liability for a Parking Lot Incident

If a parking lot incident does occur, ranging from an act of sexual assault to a crash that causes injuries, it can be difficult to understand who is liable. It is important to note that the parking lot owner/manager may be held liable when their negligence contributed to the incident. The owner/manager of the parking lot may be found negligent when a dangerous condition existed on the parking lot or the potential for there to be an accident/criminal activity was understood; the parking lot owner/manager did not take action to correct the dangerous condition/prevent against criminal activity; and the victim’s injuries could have been prevented but for the actions of the parking lot owner/manager.

For example, if a person is robbed or assaulted in a parking lot, the parking lot/owner manager could be held partially liable if the victim can prove that: a) the parking lot was dangerous (i.e. by virtue of being poorly lit, being located in a dangerous neighborhood, because incidents had occurred in the parking lot before, etc.); b) that the parking lot owner/manager understood these dangers or should have understood them; and c) that the parking lot owner did not take action to remedy the situation, such as by installing lighting or hiring a security guard. The victim must also prove that their injuries would not have been suffered had the parking lot owner/manager taken action.

Seek Legal Help Today

If you are harmed in a parking lot in Georgia, our attorneys can help you to understand what to do next. For a free consultation, contact our lawyers online or by phone today. 

The foregoing answer is not legal advice and is merely a general overview. You are advised to consult a lawyer to address your specific situation. Feel free to send comments or questions to: steve@aa-legal.com of Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, or call (404) 377-9191.