Have You Been Hurt in a Florida Parking Lot? What Does Florida Law Say About Florida Parking Lot Accidents?
Posted By Alan Sackrin on July 10, 2013
Last Update: 01/27/16
People get hurt in parking lots all of the time, and here in South Florida with our large tourism industry, there are lots of incidents where people visiting from out of town or other parts of the world get hurt in our parking lots.
Parking lot injuries can happen at shopping malls, hotels, marinas, restaurants, bars, condos, townhouses, apartment complexes, grocery stores, gas stations, schools, colleges, parks, beaches — just about anywhere that people go to park their cars, trucks, minivans, motorcycles, or SUVs, there’s the chance that someone will be hurt in that lot.
Police and Parking Lots – Tickets or Reports?
When there’s an accident, most people think about calling the local police. This is a good idea because the police officer can prepare a written report of what has happened, which can be used by injured people later when they file insurance claims for their damages. At trial, a police officer can also testify about what he or she witnessed at the time; this can prove to be very important evidence for someone seeking financial coverage for their injuries in a court case.
However, the police officer may not be able to give anyone a ticket when there is an accident with injuries on a parking lot. There are both private and public parking lots. The Miami Parking Authority, for example, operates parking lots as part of the public infrastructure. The laws that apply to someone parking in a public parking lot to attend a Marlins game will be different that someone who parks on a private lot to attend a family picnic.
If the lot is a private parking lot, then law enforcement will not be able to ticket anyone as a wrongdoer. This does not mean that the police officer will not be helpful in a parking lot injury case, just that he or she will not make an initial assessment of any Florida law being violated.
Who Gets Hurt in a Parking Lot Accident?
While most parking lot accidents are not high-speed crashes, there are instances where serious injuries are sustained in a parking lot accident. For example, someone walking to their vehicle can be struck by a moving car and be severely hurt. Pedestrian accidents in Florida parking lots can be serious, and life-altering for both the injury victim and their family.
Two cars in a collision in a parking lot may seem to be a mere fender-bender, but sometimes these little crashes result in big injuries. The neck, spine, and head of the human body is vulnerable to snapping types of force, and a minor speed can still cause severe injury to someone’s spinal cord or nervous system. Anyone in either car in that small parking lot collision may need serious and long term medical care.
Vehicles are damaged, too. Any parking lot crash involving a vehicle will result in some level of property damage. The extent of that damage and who is responsible for repairs can become a thorny legal issue in a Florida parking lot accident claim.
What Florida Law Says About Florida Parking Lot Accidents
Under Florida law, parking lot accidents are covered by “premises liability” law. This means that the owner or operator of the public parking lot is responsible to those who use the lot: they will be legally responsible for injuries resulting from their negligence. The owner or operator has a legal duty to keep the Florida parking lot reasonably safe for those who use it.
This means keeping the parking lot in a reasonable condition as well as protecting those who use the parking lot from known or suspected criminal activity in the area (e.g., if the area is known for criminals burglarizing vacant cars, then the lot may have a legal duty to protect against that kind of crime with lights, etc.).
Damages can be awarded in parking lot accident cases that cover things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For more information about a particular circumstance, an evaluation by a Florida personal injury lawyer who knows premises liability law will be helpful.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in a parking lot, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
- What Type Of Legal Duty Does A Florida Property Owner Have For Injuries To Visitors?: Florida Premises Liability’s Invitee, Licensee, Trespasser Distinctions
- Hit By a Car: Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.