Most of us step foot in a parking lot at least once daily. But the threat of injury isn’t always on our minds when we do. Just how common are slip and fall accidents in parking lots?
If you suffered injuries in a parking lot fall accident, contact Thomas Law Offices to discuss your case further. In your free consultation, you’ll meet with an experienced premises liability attorney who can advise you of your rights after a serious slip and fall accident in Chicago.
Where Do Most Fall Accidents Happen?
Slip and fall accidents happen wherever trip hazards, slippery surfaces, or uneven footing make walking unsafe for pedestrians. Some of the most common places for a Chicago slip and fall accident to occur include:
- Parking lots
- Escalators and stairs
- In the workplace
- Grocery stores
- Retail stores
Why Are Slip and Fall Accidents So Common in Parking Lots?
For the reasons we’ll discuss below, parking lots are a particularly common site of slips and falls. Another reason falls happen so commonly in parking areas is because they are visited so frequently.
Many people walk through parking lots multiple times a day. Visiting most public locations requires a person to walk from their vehicle to the entrance of the building and back, crossing the parking lot twice along the way. Commuting to work, running errands, attending a doctor’s visit, and even going home to your apartment complex all require you to travel through a vehicle parking area.
Unfortunately for pedestrians—many of whom are rushed and paying attention to something other than their footing—parking lots often contain hidden hazards to those on foot.
Potholes and Uneven Pavement
Time, weather, heavy traffic, poor maintenance, and general wear and tear take a toll on the pavement of parking areas. Unlike sidewalks, which are usually regulated by higher safety standards for foot traffic, parking lots are rarely maintained with walkers in mind. If your arms are full of grocery bags or work gear, you might not see a crack in the pavement until it’s too late.
Shopping Carts and Other Debris
Parking areas should be kept free of clutter, but business owners aren’t always as attentive to the outside premises as they should be. If you’ve been to a grocery store anywhere in Chicagoland, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to see a few shopping carts littering the lot. Food waste, packaging, garbage, and objects fallen from vehicles are common to find lying in the spaces and aisles of parking lots. All of these trip hazards increase the odds a pedestrian will lose their footing on the way to the building or their car.
Adverse Weather Conditions
We in Chicago are no strangers to adverse weather conditions. As a resident of our area, you’re surely familiar with the hazardous walking conditions that quickly accumulate on concrete surfaces after a snowfall, deep freeze, or even a severe rainstorm. When property owners neglect to clear parking lots of weather-related hazards, those on foot often suffer the most severe consequences.
Any fall hazards described above will be compounded by the absence of adequate lighting. When you are forced to cross a parking lot in the dark, you are at risk of a serious slip and fall accident and vulnerable to criminal attacks. When possible, it’s best to park your vehicle close to a building or near a light fixture if you know you will be returning to your vehicle after dark. If you suffer a serious injury because a property owner fails to provide suitable lighting for patrons, you may be entitled to file a premises liability claim to recover damages.
Inadequate Design for Pedestrians
The name “parking lot” already implies that it’s an area designed with vehicles in mind. Too often, the needs of people on foot are neglected in the layout and maintenance of parking lots. That could include:
- Little space between vehicles for people to walk
- Blind turns and corners where a pedestrian can easily be struck by a vehicle
- A lack of paths specifically designated for walkers
- Unreasonably high speed limits, lack of signage, or too few stop signs
- Parking spaces that force people to walk across roads or through dangerous areas
What Are the Most Common Injuries Suffered in Chicago Parking Lot Slip and Fall Accidents?
When someone slips and falls in a parking lot, there is no soft surface to minimize the impact of the fall. Making contact with rough, unyielding asphalt can lead to serious physical damage. Some of the most common injuries suffered by victims of slip and fall accidents in Chicago are:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries, like torn ligaments and tendons
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Bruises and abrasions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent disability
How Many People Are Injured in Slip and Fall Accidents Each Year?
Falling is among the top causes of accidental injury and fatality in the United States, along with motor vehicle accidents, poisoning, and drowning. Consider the following slip and fall accident statistics gathered from sources such as the CDC and the National Safety Council:
- Over 8 million people visit the ER each year for injuries suffered in fall accidents
- The leading cause of ER visits is falls (21.3% of all visits)
- The primary cause for employees to miss workdays is a slip and fall accident
- Half of all accidental deaths that happen at home are caused by falls, usually a fall on the floor rather than a fall from a height
- Over 15,000 people over the age of 65 die every year from injuries sustained in fall accidents
- The cost of treating fall injuries in the U.S. reaches roughly $13-14 million every year
What Should You Do After a Parking Lot Slip and Fall Accident?
Considering how common slip and fall accidents are in parking lots, it can be relatively difficult to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries. Contacting a slip and fall attorney is the best way to ensure the insurance company takes your claim seriously.
It’s especially important to obtain qualified legal representation if there were no witnesses to your accident. Your attorney from Thomas Law Offices may need to dig deeper to get the evidence needed to build a strong case on your behalf. This may include the testimony of expert witnesses or surveillance camera footage that can support your right to compensation.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in the Chicago area, contact Thomas Law Offices to schedule a free case evaluation. We’ll review the details of your case to determine if you have grounds for legal action. Our experienced legal advice does not obligate you to work with our law firm on your case.