If you’ve suffered physical injuries or property damage because of an accident in a parking lot, you may need the assistance of a Philadelphia parking lot accident lawyer.
Despite how harmless parking lots may seem, thousands of accidents happen to individuals driving or walking through them each year. Serious injuries can occur in these scenarios. Property damage is also a common result of parking lot incidents, both due to vehicle collisions and criminal acts like burglary and vandalism.
It can often be difficult to establish who’s legally at fault for a parking lot accident, which is why the help of an expert parking lot accident lawyer is essential if you’ve been involved in an incident like this.
Cases a Philadelphia Parking Lot Accident Lawyer Deals With
Parking lot accident attorneys in Philadelphia deal with incidents of all types. In this section, we look at some of the most common cases of this type that our parking lot accident lawyers work on.
Vehicles hit pedestrians in parking lots more often than you might think, particularly when lots are busy. Pedestrians are hugely vulnerable in these situations, even when they occur at low speeds. If you get caught between two vehicles or pressed against a wall or obstacle, or you end up under the wheel of a car or truck, you can suffer very severe injuries.
Our parking lot accident attorneys frequently work with parking lot accident victims dealing with issues like:
- Soft tissue injuries: These include sprains, strains, and contusions. They’re not usually life-threatening, but they can cause significant pain and limited mobility. This is particularly problematic if you do physical work, as you may not be able to earn money during your recuperation period.
- Broken bones: Bones in the legs, arms, and ribs are particularly vulnerable to fracture in a car accident situation. Again, while these injuries are not typically life-threatening, they can be painful and debilitating, and lead to a costly period of time spent out of work.
- Head injuries: If an impact causes you to fall and hit your head, you might suffer from concussions or other types of traumatic brain injuries. These can have long-term implications in terms of cognitive and motor function.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spine can lead to permanent paralysis and other long-term complications. Even relatively mild spinal cord injuries tend to involve lengthy and painful recovery periods.
- Internal injuries: Internal bleeding or damage to organs can be life-threatening if not promptly and properly treated.
Because cars and trucks typically travel slowly in parking lots, serious injuries are relatively rare in two-vehicle crashes in these situations. However, these types of car accidents can still give rise to soft-tissue injuries, whiplash, and head injuries.
Another issue that arises in these cases is property damage. As you’ll know if you’ve owned a vehicle for any length of time, even minor repair and maintenance work on cars can be very expensive. If your vehicle sustains damage because of another driver’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill yourself.
Burglary & Vandalism
Leaving your vehicle unattended in a parking lot for an extended period gives rise to the risk that someone will break into it to steal valuables, or simply for the sake of vandalism.
If this happens to you and the police apprehend the individual who stole from or vandalized your vehicle, you can file a lawsuit against them to recover compensation related to the loss of or damage to your property. However, if the offender in question evades detection, and you can show that the owner of the parking lot did not implement adequate measures to keep patrons’ vehicles safe, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner.
It’s important to remember that you may lose the right to file suit, or have the value of your claim reduced, if you failed to take proper precautions for the safety of your vehicle.
Parking lot accidents don’t always involve vehicles. The rules around premises liability require business and property owners to take reasonable steps to keep their parking lots safe, such as by minimizing slip-and-fall hazards. If you injure yourself because of a patch of icy ground in a parking lot, you may be entitled to compensation from the proprietor of the lot. Again, whether liability attaches to defendants in cases like these will depend on many different circumstances, including any potential negligence on your own part.
Who May Be Liable in a Parking Lot Accident Situation?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident, various parties may be held legally liable for it. In some cases, liability may fall on more than one party.
For example, if you had a slip-and-fall accident in a parking lot because the ground was slippery, and the owner of the business did not take reasonable steps to fix the hazard or provide warnings about it, they may be held liable for your injuries.
Similarly, if a criminal steals from or vandalizes your vehicle and escapes detection because the business owner did not have adequate security measures (such as CCTV or security guards) in place, this may also give rise to liability. This area of the law is known as premises liability.
Can You Still Recover Compensation If You Were Partially at Fault for an Accident?
Pennsylvania has what is known as a “modified comparative negligence” rule to deal with situations in which a plaintiff shares some of the blame for an accident. This means that, as long as your share of the fault for what happened is less than 51%, you may still recover damages in proportion to the extent of your responsibility. However, if your share of the blame is judged to be greater than 51%, you won’t be entitled to any compensation.
What Kinds of Damages Are Recoverable Following a Parking Lot Accident?
The damages available from parking lot accident lawsuits (and personal injury lawsuits generally) fall into three broad categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
These are quantifiable costs resulting from an injury. Also referred to as “special damages,” they include things like medical expenses, lost wages, diminished future earning capacity, property damage, and any other financial losses directly attributable to your accident. The calculation of economic damages is generally straightforward, as amounts correspond directly to costs indicated on receipts and invoices.
Non-economic damages, also known as “general damages,” compensate plaintiffs for the non-monetary consequences of an injury, such as physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. It’s up to judges and juries to decide (largely on the basis of subjective criteria) what amounts to pay out for these types of damages. This means awards of non-economic damages can vary significantly from one case to the next.
These are designed to punish defendants and deter similar conduct by others in the future. However, punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the defendant’s behavior was exceptionally malicious, reckless, or negligent. The majority of parking lot accident cases in Pennsylvania do not involve conduct that meets this standard.
Contact Our Philadelphia Parking Lot Accident Lawyers Today
The physical and emotional trauma that comes in the aftermath of an accident can feel overwhelming, particularly if you have to deal with an uncooperative insurance company. Without the assistance of expert parking lot accident attorneys, you’ll struggle to get the compensation you need to get your life back on track, even if your case is seemingly straightforward.
Don’t allow yourself to be bullied. Get in contact with The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia today to start the process of filing your claim. You can reach us via our web form or over the phone at 800-969-4400.