If you’re looking for them, you’ll see potholes all over the place. Potholes are common in poor drainage and high traffic areas, such as in parking lots. And when you least expect it, a pothole can cause you to trip and fall and injure yourself.
Property owners and business managers must maintain their property, including the parking lot. If an owner isn’t careful, potholes can become hazardous to customers and visitors. If a pothole in a parking lot injured you, you might be able to get compensation for your expenses.
At John Foy & Associates, our lawyers help those who were injured by someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one suffered injuries, reach out today to learn more during a free consultation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
Parking Lot Pothole Accidents and Your Rights
Parking lot accidents are a growing problem throughout the United States. According to AAA’s pothole fact sheet, 16 million drivers have reported vehicle damage from hitting a pothole at least once in the past five years. And that’s not even counting how potholes affect those on foot.
Potholes can form because of underground water, weather conditions, and salt or oil buildup. The potholes can also erode and break down over time. If the person responsible for the land doesn’t monitor the pothole, it can become very dangerous.
Pothole injuries can happen by:
- Stepping into the pothole
- Tripping over the pothole edges
- Falling off a bicycle that “trips” on a pothole
- Being hit by a vehicle that loses control because of a pothole
The Property Owner or Landowner’s Responsibility
If someone trips and falls on a pothole in a parking lot, the landowner or property owner is often liable. Even if the person didn’t cause the pothole, they are still responsible for making the area safe.
Property owners and occupiers must regularly watch for hazards. If they see that something is unsafe, such as a pothole, they should:
- Fix the problem as soon as possible, or
- Provide a warning to visitors until the owner can fix the hole.
Ignoring a pothole issue is not acceptable. If a pothole caused your injuries, you might be able to hold someone liable for your damages. The responsible party could be:
- An owner of the land the pothole was on
- The owner of a business beside the parking lot and pothole
- A business manager
- A government agency responsible for the parking lot
An owner might not realize how serious a pothole is—until someone trips, falls, and is injured. But that’s not an excuse. If you suffered injuries, you likely deserve compensation.
The Challenge of Winning Pothole Cases
If you bring a case against the property owner, they might try to blame you for your accident. A common defense is that you should have been able to see and avoid the pothole. However, you and any reasonable person can see that’s not realistic.
The nature of potholes often makes them impossible to avoid. For example, they are often the same color as the parking lot around them. The lighting in the parking lot might be too poor to see correctly. Plus, no one expects to come across a huge hole while walking.
To have a valid claim, you must prove that:
- The owner owed you a duty of care
- The owner failed in their duty of care (and was negligent)
- The owner’s negligence led to your trip and fall on the pothole
- You have injuries and damages from the fall
The owner must have known about the pothole. If they didn’t know about the pothole, you must prove that they should have reasonably known about it. Next, the owner should have done something to prevent harm to those traveling around the pothole area—but they did not.
Proving all of the above can take time and investigation. You will also need to prove that you couldn’t have avoided the pothole by merely being careful. Showing the owner’s negligence is key.
It’s best to contact an experienced lawyer after a pothole-related injury. These cases are often complicated, and they require a lot of legal work. But if you can build a strong case, you’ll get the compensation you deserve for your costs. To speak with a trusted lawyer about your case today, call (404) 400-4000 for a free consultation.
What to Do After a Pothole Injures You in a Parking Lot
After you trip and fall:
- Take pictures of the pothole that injured you. Also, snap pictures of any visible injuries you now have.
- If anyone else saw you fall, ask for their contact information. Your lawyer can get a statement from them to support your case.
- Report to the landowner or business by the parking lot. Ask to speak to a manager, and make sure they know you fell and suffered injuries.
Other actions to take after the injury include:
- Seeing a doctor after the fall
- Saving all medical bills and other costs from the accident
- Calling a trip and fall accident lawyer
- Avoiding communication with the owner’s insurance company until you have a lawyer
Landowners and businesses will have insurance for injury-related claims. After your fall, the insurance company might try contacting you. They might even offer you a quick settlement for your costs. But do not accept a settlement offer without speaking to a lawyer.
If you get a quick offer, it’s a lowball amount. It won’t come close to covering your full damages. Before you say or accept anything related to your case, call a lawyer for a free consultation.
Talk to a Trip and Fall Accident Lawyer About Your Case
Tripping and falling on a pothole is probably the last scenario you want to deal with. But you have costs that you didn’t cause, and you have rights. While you focus on healing, our trip and fall accident lawyers can fight for your compensation.
John Foy & Associates can start investigating your accident and fighting for your rights. Our goal is to fully recover what you’ve lost because of the accident. We also do not charge a fee unless we win you compensation.
To get started with a free consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.