I Fell in a Shared Parking Lot – Who Is Responsible?
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If you slip and fall in someone’s office, house, or other workspace, you know exactly who to sue. But what if you slip and fall in a shared parking lot? Which business is at-fault? It’s not always clear, especially if the businesses using that shared parking lot don’t actually own the property themselves. It may take a little bit of research to determine who has the legal responsibilities of taking care of the parking lot and covering your medical bills.
Do You Work There?
The first thing you need to do to determine who is at fault is to look at your employment and what you were doing at the time. If you slipped and fell while going into or leaving work, you likely have a workers’ compensation case, not a slip and fall personal injury case. However, it’s not always such a black and white situation. If, for example, you’re a contract worker or someone who doesn’t work at a fixed location, you may not be covered.
If you were a customer, you need to determine who is actually responsible for the lot. If the businesses surrounding it only lease their retail space, it’s likely not them. You’ll need to determine who the landlord is, because they’re the ones responsible. This is even true if you were there for work. If the lot is privately owned by a landlord or is considered public domain, you can’t make a workers’ comp claim at all. Instead, you have to sue the landlord for a slip and fall injury.
On the other hand, if you’re a customer who slips in a parking lot owned by a business, that business has a duty to keep the lot safe. This includes dealing with any ice that builds up and filling in holes that have appeared. You can pursue legal action against the business for failing to keep their parking space safe.
Customers Bear Some Responsibility, Too
Customers and employees do have some responsibility in keeping themselves reasonably safe. For example, if a parking lot is icy, it’s reasonable for you to walk slowly and carefully. If there are clear warning signs regarding holes or ice, it’s reasonable you would read them. If you sue and are found to have acted unreasonably, you’re likely to lose the case.
Before you start a slip and fall accident, you want to be sure you have a legal expert on your side. Contact the offices of Held & Hines today to talk to one of our seasoned attorneys.