Accidents Due to Falls on Parking Ramps
The abundance of multi-level parking ramps has changed the American landscape. These structures provide people with easy access to businesses, office buildings, schools, and airports. While parking garages and parking ramps probably do not immediately come to mind as dangerous places, statistics show otherwise. Parking ramps are the site of thousands of falls each year, often caused by poor maintenance or poor design of the parking area.
Slip and falls are the most commonly reported parking ramp injury, caused by a variety of factors including:
- Cracked and uneven pavement or potholes
- Slippery substances, oil, or debris
- Weather conditions, such as rain, ice, or snow
- Damaged, dislocated, or cracked car stops
- Design defects, such as inadequate pedestrian access and poor walkway arrangements
- Dangerously positioned curbs and islands
- Improper paints used to outline parking areas
Often, parking ramps receive little sunlight and are accessed by customers at all hours of the day and night. Poor lighting becomes a major contributing factor to parking ramp slip and falls. Further, lot designers frequently fail to take into account the high probability that hurried pedestrians will select the shortest route possible to their destination. Providing inadequate pathways along this route will often lead to pedestrians creating their own pathway, and slip and falls ensue.
Handicapped ramps and cut-outs, though legally required, have lead to a number of slip and falls where parking ramp owners fail to adequately ensure their safety by using non-slip treatment, friction strips, or a brushed concrete base. A lack of stairwell banisters or damaged banisters can also lead to slip and falls on stairways going between multi-level parking ramps. Curbs and car stops have traditionally lead to the highest numbers of parking ramp falls. Misplaced curbs and car stops trip thousands of unwitting parking ramp customers each year.
As most parking ramps are made of concrete, falls on these surfaces can cause serious injury. Possible injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Shattered nose or teeth
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal organ damage
Property owners have a legal duty of care to keep their premises, including their parking ramps, reasonably safe. This includes making regular inspections and repairing any dangerous conditions or defects. Injured fall victims may be able to recover from the owner of the parking ramp if they can establish negligence. A property owner will be deemed negligent if the slip and fall victim was injured due to a dangerous condition on their property condition and the property owner knew of the dangerous condition but failed to remedy it.
Knowledge can be established by showing the property owner:
- Created the dangerous condition; or
- Knew of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy it; or
- The property owner should have known of the dangerous condition and corrected it before the slip and fall occurred.
Injured parties must also prove the dangerous condition presented an unreasonable risk and they could not have anticipated it under the circumstances. For cases involving falls due to curbs and car stops, it therefore becomes vital to demonstrate the curb or car stop was not in a place where the victim would have expected it.Peter Thompson & Associates: Helping Slip and Fall Victims Across Maine
The premises liability professionals at Peter Thompson & Associates have successfully represented hundreds of individuals who suffered slip and fall injuries in parking lots, garages, and ramps throughout the state of Maine. Call us today at 1 800.804.2004 to schedule an initial consultation at an convenience office meeting location near you. Home and hospital visits are available.