You may think you’re safe from car accidents when you’re not driving, but the truth is that there are risks any time you’re around other vehicles. Parking lots, in particular, are more dangerous than you’d expect due to limited traffic controls.
Though many of the same traffic laws apply in parking areas, many motorists ignore them or aren’t aware of their obligations. Under these circumstances, injury-causing accidents are common. As a victim, you suffer more than just physical pain. The financial and emotional implications can be severe.
Fortunately, you still have rights under Texas personal injury laws, which allow you to seek monetary damages for your losses. If you or a loved one have been injured in a parking lot accident in Houston, an experienced attorney with The Krist Law Firm can offer you guidance and determine if you are entitled to a financial recovery.
Injury Victims’ Rights in Private Property Accidents
Regardless of whether you were injured in a parking lot as a pedestrian or in a vehicle, these accidents typically occur because someone was careless. Legally, the basis for liability is a concept called negligence. To recover compensation for your losses as a victim, you must prove four essential elements:
- You need to show that the responsible party had a duty to exercise reasonable caution, so as to not cause a risk of harm to others;
- You must present evidence on how that individual or entity breached this legal duty;
- You need to establish a direct link between the breach of duty and the parking lot accident in which you were injured; and,
- You must prove that you sustained losses due to getting hurt.
How Parking Lot Accidents Happen
Injuries to pedestrians by other motorists in parking lots are common where a driver breaches their legal duty of care by:
- Speeding through the area;
- Failing to yield to pedestrians or other vehicles;
- Texting or talking on the phone;
- Not obeying traffic signs or signals;
- Other forms of distracted driving, such as using a GPS or adjusting the radio;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and,
- Engaging in many other careless acts.
There are also other non-driving factors that may contribute to parking lot accidents. Dangerous conditions on the property itself can present safety risks, such as poor lighting, lack of signage, failure to protect against criminal activity, and other hazards. If you’re hurt due to these circumstances, you may be able to seek a recovery under Texas premises liability laws.
Personal Injury Claims Involving Parking Lots
Generally, when you’re hit by a car, the careless driver would be liable under the concept of negligence. However, under the laws of premises liability, you would seek compensation from the parking lot owner or other entity in control of the space. For instance, if your parking lot injuries were caused by dangerous conditions, you may have a claim against:
- The owner of the property, as listed on the deed;
- A business that rents the parking lot from the owner;
- A property management company that oversees operations; or,
- Any other party that has an ownership interest, is in possession or exercises some degree of control over the parking lot.
Special Considerations in Parking Lot Accident Claims
By proving the essential elements of negligence as described above, you may be able to recover compensation for a wide range of losses. Your parking lot injury claim may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and many other losses. Still, there are laws that may affect your rights or the amount of monetary damages you can obtain.
- All US states have a statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you don’t initiate litigation within the relevant time frame, you’re forever barred from recovering any compensation.
- There are also laws that focus on how your own conduct may have caused your parking lot injuries. In jurisdictions that follow the rule of comparative negligence, your monetary damages may be reduced by the amount of blame attributable to you. Some states adhere to the harsh rule of contributory negligence, where you may obtain no compensation if you’re at fault – even slightly.
- Some US states have enacted legislation that places a statutory cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering. If your claim arises out of one of these jurisdictions, your compensation will be limited according to the specific law.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were injured in a parking lot accident in Houston, skilled legal representation is critical. You could encounter significant challenges when dealing with an insurance company, and the process doesn’t get any easier if you need to go to court to enforce your rights as a victim. Allow a knowledgeable lawyer to shoulder the legal burdens, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.