It only takes a few seconds to slip and fall, and you may end up wondering, “Who can you sue if you fall in a parking lot?” The answer to this question varies in complexity, depending on where the incident occurred.
Whenever you are away from home, you rely on parking lots to leave your car as you shop, dine, see a movie, attend an appointment, etc. What you do not expect is to suffer an injury from a slip and fall in a parking lot.
Instead of dismissing your slip and fall as unfortunate luck, consider the circumstances. What led to that fall and how could it have been prevented? In many circumstances, you may not be at fault. Knowing who is at fault, and who you can hold responsible for the damages caused can help you recover for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even related future costs.
Who Can You Sue if You Fall in a Parking Lot?
Slips and falls in a parking lot can lead to injuries – some more severe than others. There are multiple problems that can lead to a fall, such as poor lighting, cracked surfaces, water, or other hidden obstacles beyond your control.
Essentially, a claim of a fall in a parking lot is a form of a premises liability action. Negligence on the part of another may be to blame. So, who can you sue if you fall in a parking lot? Most likely, you can sue one or more of the following.
Commercial Property Owner and Business Operator
Who you sue will depend on who owns that parking lot or uses it for their business. In many instances, both the owner of the property and the business operator can be held responsible. Both parties are required to provide a safe environment, free of hazards, for customers and visitors, as well as workers such as delivery personnel. The parties must regularly inspect the parking lots and take precautions to prevent or decrease the risk of any foreseeable injuries. From unreasonably slippery conditions that should have been remedied to difficult-to-see tripping hazards, they must correct or provide warning of such hazards before an injury occurs. Generally, it is difficult to pursue a claim involving a public-owned parking lot. City, county, state, and federal governments are well-protected, and claims against them often have very strict deadlines and other requirements. If you’ve received an injury from a fall in a public-owned parking lot, there may be other options. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out what these are.
Adjoining Property Owners
In some circumstances, adjoining property owners may be included in your lawsuit. The key is to determine whether they contributed in some way to the creation of an unsafe condition. An example of this is the existence of a water leak on their property which runs onto the adjoining parking lot. If you fall due to resulting slippery conditions, you may be able to sue them.
Maintenance Contractor, Engineers, & Other Third Parties
When a maintenance contractor is in charge of keeping a parking lot safe and you suffer injury, you may be able to sue that contractor. A maintenance agreement is often in place between the contractor and the property or business owner, and it can be specific about the contractor’s role.
Filing a Lawsuit for Slip and Fall in a Parking Lot
As explained above, the answer to who can you sue if you fall in a parking lot is most likely the property owner or the business owner. However, there can be others, and much will depend on whether the owner is private or public. Before filing a lawsuit for slip and fall in a parking lot, determining the responsible parties will be a crucial step in ensuring a successful outcome.
A slip and fall lawsuit is based on the legal concept referred to as premises liability. Premises liability is a set of requirements or rules that require all property owners, including those in Texas, to take specific reasonable measures to ensure that their property is safe for visitors.
When they are negligent in providing these safety measures and you fall and suffer an injury, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Your lawsuit will include proof of the following:
- An unsafe condition or defect existed, directly contributing to your fall
- The parking lot owner or caretaker failed to maintain or correct a foreseeable hazard
- You fell and suffered an injury as a result of this failure to ensure safety
- You sustained financial damages as a result of your injury.
Your claim requires supportive evidence as well, such as:
- photographs of the dangerous condition
- videos of the condition and surrounding area
- any surveillance footage from nearby security cameras
- witness statements
- police reports
- medical records
- billing records.
Proving negligence on the part of another can be challenging. In Texas, if you are partially responsible for the fall which resulted in an injury, you still are eligible for compensation. However, the amount of compensation will be lower, based on a calculation assigning a percentage of the fault to each party.
Generally, the statute of limitations on filing your slip and fall lawsuit in Texas is two years (TX C.P.R. §16.003), and it is always a good idea to speak directly with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident for the exact statute that applies to your claim(s) – and any other deadlines that may be involved.
If You Fell in a Parking Lot and Suffered an Injury, We Can Help
If you or someone close to you fell in a parking lot and suffers from an injury, you need to know your rights. Contacting an experienced attorney for a slip and fall case can make all the difference in recovering the compensation you need and deserve.
The legal team at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has extensive experience with a wide range of premises cases, including slip and falls involving serious injuries. Call (713) 973-8888 or toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000 today to schedule a free consultation to understand your rights.