If you were injured in a parking lot in Florida, you may have a case. Parking lots can be found outside of malls:
- Day spas, salons and barber shops
- Golf and Country Clubs
- Office buildings
- Hotels, resorts and motels
- Condominiums and apartment buildings
- Gas stations and convenience stores
In order to recover damages, the injured person must show that a parking lot hazard caused his or her injury.
What are some examples of dangerous conditions in Florida parking lots?
Many different types of dangerous conditions in a parking lot can cause someone’s injury. Let’s take a look at a few examples of hazards in parking lots.
Exit Door with Step Down and No Warning Sign
An exit door at a Florida condominium should have a warning sign if there is a step down. I settled a case for $78,000 where my client misstepped while walking out of an exit door.
In the above photo, you can see the landing area and steps outside of the exit door. These steps led to the condo’s parking lot.
Missing Asphalt (or Broken Flooring)
Some parking lots have an asphalt surface. Through time, the asphalt may get destroyed.
The picture below is a close up of missing asphalt in a parking lot. I took this at a South Miami, Dade County, Florida office building parking lot. The missing/broken asphalt is a trip hazard.
If a building guest steps into the missing asphalt and is injured, he or she may have a case. An example of a building guest could be a patient going to a doctor’s office or a delivery person.
There are many other situations where someone is considered an invitee to the property. I only named two.
An employee who works for a business (within the building) may also have a personal injury case.
To best understand if you have a case, you should look at several pictures of the hazard. I took another picture from a few feet back so that I could see more of the surrounding area.
The photo is below.
Then, I stepped back a few more feet. I took another picture that shows the surrounding area.
The exit door to the staircase is right above the arrow. Someone could exit this door and make an immediate left hand turn.
He or she could trip on the missing asphalt. I think the case is stronger if a woman who is wearing high heels steps into the missing asphalt.
If true, she can make the argument that her heel got touched the missing asphalt. Since the missing asphalt is a lower level (by at least 1/2 inch), it is reasonable for a lady to fall by stepping into the missing asphalt.
The injured person should be sure to take measurements of the height of the missing asphalt. I took another picture from farther back. It is below.
This picture gives you an idea of the “big picture.” I typed the word “Exit” above the exit door to the parking lot staircase.
The injured person’s case is stronger if he or she was coming out of this door, made a left turn and fell. This is because the injured person had very little, if any, time to notice the missing asphalt.
If the victim was walking in the direction of the arrow towards to the staircase, his or her case is tougher. This is because the pedestrian had more time to see the hazard before the fall.
In Florida, a claimant has a duty to use reasonable care when walking. If the property owner’s insurance company feels that the victim should have seen the hazard before the fall, he or she will place blame on him or her.
The claims adjuster will reduce the value of the case accordingly. The adjuster’s offer will factor in a reduction for the victim’s fault.
In the pictures above, the missing asphalt is obvious. The adjuster will argue that the victim should have seen it before the fall.
Personal injury cases are more difficult if the hazard is open and obvious. I took another photo from further away. It is below.
I took this photo so that an adjuster or jury can see the big picture.
The injured person should take more than these five (5) photos to document the accident scene. The victim should take pictures from at least four (4) directions (e.g. East, West, North and South).
Stepping in a hole in a parking garage or parking lot.
A condominium parking garage or other place may have an uncovered hole. The hole could also be in an outside parking lot as well.
The condo may be negligent for allowing the uncovered hole to exist. A guest or resident may step into the hole. He or she may get hurt.
If so, the injured victim may have a case against the condo association and property management company. The victim should take pictures of the uncovered hole.
The injured person should take a close of photo.
If someone was hurt and made an injury claim, the condo association’s insurer may place some blame on the victim. This is particularly true if the color of the hole contrasts with the surrounding flooring.
In the pictures above, the uncovered hole contrasts with the surrounding flooring. The adjuster will place blame on the victim for not being more observant while walking.
However, a guest may be getting out of the car (in the picture above). He or she may step into the hole on the first step while exiting the vehicle.
If so, there may be little to no fault assigned to him or her.
Tip: In Florida, if the victim is injured while exiting the vehicle, he or she should also make a PIP claim.
The injured person should also take photos from further away that capture the “big picture.” The photo below is taken facing west.
The injured person should take a picture facing east from far away.
The victim should also take a picture facing south. Within reason, it is better to have several pictures of the accident scene.
Hole covered with grass overgrowth next a parking lot.
Some parking lots are poorly designed or maintained. The only pedestrian path of travel to a sidewalk may be through the grass.
It may be reasonable for a pedestrian to walk over grass to get to/from the parking lot to a building. If it is reasonable, he or she may have a case for injuries from stepping into a hole covered with grass overgrowth.
However, if the pedestrian should have used a nearby walkway then he or she may have no case.
My Actual Case: $64,900 Settlement for a man who tripped and fell in a hole covered with grass overgrowth. It happened at an office complex in Doral, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
He had surgery to repair a tendon in his ankle. The hole was covered with sand/dirt after the fall.
The hole was next to the sidewalk. It can be seen in the picture below.
My client was walking to his car that was in the parking lot.
Tripping on a dangerous wheel stop
Wheel stops are located in all types of parking lots. A mall patron may trip on a wheel stop in a parking lot. If this causes an injury, he or she may have a case.
Take a look at the wheel stop in the photo above. In most scenarios, this would be a tough case.
It is tough because the wheel stop is yellow and big. Therefore, it is open and obvious.
While it should not be in the middle of a parking space, the parking lot’s claim adjuster will argue that the patron should have seen it before the fall.
The best case for the injured person would be if he or she tripped while exiting the left side of the car (seen in the photo above). This is because he or she can argue that there was not much time to notice the wheel stop before the fall.
Even if the victim was exiting the driver’s side of the car, it is still a difficult case. The injured person should expect the claims adjuster to significantly discount the full value of the case for comparative fault.
Metal Rod Sticking out of the Pavement
A parking lot may have a metal rod sticking out of the ground. Take a look at the photo below.
The above rod is in the parking lot of an office building in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida. The property owner and management company have a duty to warn guests of this hazard.
They also have a duty to fix to remove this rod. If a building guest or tenant trips on this rod, he or she may have a case to recover damages.
The victim should measure the height and diameter of this rod. The injured person should take a photo which shows the rod’s measurements.
The victim should take additional pictures from many angles. The photo below was taken from about 10 to 15 feet away. It was taken facing west.
You can barely see the metal rod in the photo. This is good for the injured person’s case.
The victim can argue that no comparative fault should be placed on him or her. The injured person can argue that it was not possible to see the rod before the trip and fall.
The victim should take another photo facing south, like the one below.
The above picture shows that it is difficult to see the metal rod when facing south from 10 to 15 feet away. The injured person should take the photo at the same time as the fall.
This is because glare may have made the hazard impossible or difficult to see before the fall.
The photo above was taking facing east. The arrow is pointing to the metal rod.
A large amount of glare can be seen below the metal rod. In this photo, the glare does not affect the ability to see the metal rod.
However, if the glare was covering the metal rod it would make the injured person’s case easier. Less fault would be placed on the victim.
Tripping on Landscaping in a Florida Parking Lot
In Florida, landscaping in a parking lot is generally not a dangerous condition since it is open and obvious.
The open and obvious danger law prevents recovery of damages where the invitee departs from designated walkways to walk across landscaping areas not designated for invitees to walk on or through.
However, in Florida, an invitee may have a case if he or she was walking on a designated walkway obstructed by tree roots and other landscaping features. Wolf v. Sam’s East, Inc., 132 So.3d 305, 306 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).
The asphalt in a parking lot is considered a designated walkway. This is because guests are expected to walk on the pavement to get to the place that they are visiting.
If you are hurt in a parking lot, do you have a case against the parking lot owner and business that you were visiting?
Maybe. The property owner may have a lease with the business that talks about who is responsible for maintaining the parking lot. If the business has control over the parking lot, it should bring hazards to the parking lot owner’s attention.
You should make a medical payments (“Medpay”) claim against the parking lot owner. You should also make a Medpay claim against the business that controls the parking lot.
You may trip in a pothole in the parking lot. If you do, you may have a case against both the mall and the store.
Actual Florida parking lot accident settlements and verdicts
Pedestrian Gets $8,000 after Van Hits Him in Parking Lot
Our client said that he was standing in a car dealership parking lot. It is located in Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
A mini van backed up. It hit him at an idle (slow) speed. My client’s knees buckled and he fell to the ground. He complained of lower back pain.
A few months prior to this accident, he had knee surgery. Immediately after this accident, he complained of knee pain. He did not have any swelling.
Miami-Dade Fire rescue came to the scene. Our client walked to the ambulance stretcher. He was put on a backboard.
The paramedics put a neck collar on our client. They transported him to Homestead Hospital.
State Farm Insurance insured the driver.
The other driver said that he barely hit our client. He said that if contact was made, it was at a very low-speed.
The final diagnosis was:
- Lumbar sprain/strain
- Cervical sprain/strain (Resolved)
- Sprain/strain of the knee
- Contusion to the knee
- Residual Lumbalgia
- Knee injury complicated by prior injury and surgery
- Patellar Dysfunction
Actual Case (not mine): $2,000 for pain and suffering only for a 71 year-old woman who fractured her ankle when she fell down in a Publix parking lot in Palm Beach County, Florida.
She was self-employed in a secretarial business. She claimed that she stepped in a hole (divet) at the corner of a storm drain in the parking lot and fell.
She claimed that Publix was negligent in failing to repair the drain. She was also awarded about $5,000 for economic damages. The jury found her 50% at fault for the accident. The verdict was in 2003.
My thoughts: The amount awarded for pain and suffering is way below the full value of the pain and suffering component of a broken ankle in a Florida accident caused by someone else.
This is one of the many verdicts and settlements against Publix in Florida. The case is Lorraine v. Publix Supermarkets.
Do You have a Case for Injury Due to Poor Security at a Florida Parking Lot?
Maybe. A Florida jury awarded $1.5 Million Verdict Against McDonald’s For Man Who Is Killed In Parking Lot.
The personal representative sued Brickman Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s and B&B Cash Grocery Stores Inc.
B&B Cash Grocery Stores Inc. owned the shopping center. This verdict was reduced to $1 Million dollars because the decedent was found to be 33 percent at fault for this incident.
This is just one of many Florida parking lot death cases caused by lack of security.
How Many Factors Affect a Florida Parking Lot Accident Case?
Over 86 factors affect a Florida parking lot accident case. I have just touched on a few above.
You need to know all 86 in order to properly evaluate a Florida parking lot injury case.
What type of injuries can parking lot accidents cause?
Parking lot accident can cause many different types of injuries. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Rotator cuff injury or shoulder injury
- Herniated disc or bulging disc
- Wrist fracture or tear
- Ankle fracture or tear
- Broken hip
- Lower leg (tibia/fibula) injury
Our Actual Leg Injury Case: $10,000 Settlement (Policy Limits)
A driver of a car hit our client, a pedestrian. She had leg pain. It happened on private property in a parking lot in North Miami, Dade County, Florida.
The driver received a ticket for improper backing. He was insured with Clarendon National Insurance Company.
The driver of the car was underinsured.
Clarendon Insurance Group was the US-based property and casualty subsidiary of Hannover Re. Clarendon spun off its ongoing property and casualty business as a separate entity called Praetorian Financial Group.
Praetorian Financial was subsequently acquired by QBE Insurance Group. In Florida QBE companies are:
- General Casualty Company of Wisconsin
- QBE Insurance Corporation
QBE Insurance Corporation is the 15th largest Florida aircraft insurer in terms of market share.
Other common parking accident injuries are:
Where can parking lot accidents occur in Florida?
In addition to the places that I have talked about above, Florida parking lot accidents can happen at:
- Publix Supermarkets
- Walt Disney World in Orlando
- Walmart Stores
- Target Stores
- Winn Dixie Supermarkets
- Many more places.
How do You Calculate How Much a Florida Parking Lot Accident Case is Worth?
To calculate the settlement value of a Florida parking lot accident case, you need to know the 86 factors that I mentioned above.
You should also have years of experience handling these parking lot accident cases. Florida law applies to Florida parking lot accidents.
It is dangerous to read articles that are not Florida specific on Florida parking lot injury claims.
The differences between state laws can be huge!
In Florida, the basic formula to calculate the settlement value of a parking lot accident case is:
Settlement Value = [(Out of pocket medical bills and liens) + (Lost Wages) + (Pain & Suffering)] x (100% – % Defense Verdict) x (100% – % Injured Person’s Fault)
You trip and fall in a supermarket parking lot. Your out of pocket medical bills are $2,000. Your lose $3,000 in lost wages from missing work.
Your health insurance pays $10,000 in medical bills. You fracture your kneecap (patella) and have surgery.
The full value of the pain and suffering component of a patella fracture with hardware inserted is $100,000 to $200,000. This is a starting point only.
To keep it simple, we will take the midpoint, which is $150,000 for the pain and suffering component.
Let’s assume that there is a 50% chance of a defense verdict because a jury may feel that the parking lot owner did nothing wrong. We will assume that you are 50% at fault for not seeing the obvious hazard on which you tripped.
Let’s plug these numbers into the formula:
Settlement Value = [(Out of pocket medical bills and liens) + (Lost Wages) + (Pain & Suffering)] x (100% – % Defense Verdict) x (100% – % Injured Person’s Fault)
Settlement Value = [(10,000+2,000) + ($3,000) + ($150,000)] x (100% – 50%) x (100% – 50%)
Settlement Value = [(12,000 + ($3,000) + ($150,000)] x (50%) x (50%)
Settlement Value = [(15,000) + ($150,000)] x (25%)
Settlement Value = [(165,000)] x (25%)
Settlement Value = $41,500
$41,500 would be the settlement value. This is a very simplified example.
Will Auto Insurance Cover a Florida parking lot Injury?
If you are injured while exiting or entering a car, Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in an auto insurance policy may pay benefits. You must be covered by Florida PIP in order for it to pay benefits.
Another driver’s carelessness may cause an accident in a Florida parking lot. Find out who pays medical bills if someone’s negligence caused your injury in a car crash.
One of the most common auto insurers for Florida parking lot accidents is State Farm.
Did a parking lot owner’s carelessness cause your injury in Florida?
See Our Settlements
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