Shopping centers, strip centers and professional office building parking lots are common locations for slip, trip and fall accidents. However, the business owner may or may not be responsible for injuries from the trip and fall injury in their parking lot. Before filing a slip and fall claim, you may want to speak with a LaPorte County personal injury attorney.
A lawyer will investigate what caused the fall in the parking lot. Under Indiana law, it is not enough to be injured on someone's property, the property owner had to do something wrong that caused the injury. The lawyer will also have to identify the proper parties that are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. There could be property owners, property managers, and outside maintenance companies that may have taken on the responsibility of keeping the parking lot safe.
Our LaPorte County injury attorney handles slip and fall cases Northwest Indiana.
The first step is to find out why you fell in the parking lot. Several things could have caused your fall. The factors can include:
The condition of the parking lot surface, such as cracks or holes. Many parking lots are chewed up because of salt and plowing.
Bad lighting. There may not be adequate lighting or the lights may be malfunctioning.
Poorly marked parking stops or bumpers
Disrepair, debris and other tripping hazards throughout the parking lot; and
You - maybe you weren't paying attention
Once we are able to determine why you fell, it will be easier to locate the party or parties who had the responsibility to take care of or repair the property and is responsible for your injuries.
We already discussed the ways in which a property owner or someone else who is responsible for the parking lot can be liable, however, we also have to determine whether you bare any responsibility for the fall. If your actions contributed to the fall, under Indiana comparative fault law, any monies that you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault, up to 50%. If you are found over 50% at fault for the incident, you are not entitled to any compensation.
Before you can recover any compensation for your injury claim, you have the burden to show that the hazard on the property was unreasonably dangerous.
Duty of Care — That the property owner owed you a duty. The duty is higher for a business invitee as compared to a trespasser.
Breach of Duty (negligence)— The property owner did something or failed to do something which was negligent, such as failing to maintain the premises or failing to take reasonable measures to address a known dangerous condition.
Legal Causation — This is the link that requires the negligence of the property owner to have caused the injury.
If your fall did not cause an injury, you are not entitled to recovery compensation for a claim. If you can't show that the property owner did something wrong, you are not entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
Falls often cause severe injuries including broken ankles, knees, hips and shoulders, as well as injuries to the spinal cord, neck and back. Some folks injured by parking lot falls can experience long term consequences and permanent impairment that will impact them for the rest of their lives.
Payment for medical and hospital expenses;
Lost wages; and
Pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a LaPorte County slip and fall, at a minimum you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.