While motor vehicle collisions often lead to devastating injuries, the moment the driver gets out of the car or truck they are now a pedestrian. Walking through a parking garage offers a broad range of hazards including slip-and-fall accidents.
While every situation is unique, there are certain common factors that can lead to a painful fall and lasting injuries, including:
- Painted surfaces: Builders and property managers paint many surfaces in a parking garage for various purposes. From marked crosswalks and accessible parking spots to directional markings and lane dividers, visitors often find numerous painted surfaces in a multi-story parking garage. Unfortunately, when wet, this paint can become slippery, often leading to the loss of traction, loss of balance and a serious fall injury.
- Broken concrete: As the parking structure ages, the surface begins to fail under the weight of countless vehicle trips. Cracks and dips in the concrete surface can lead to visitors tripping and falling to the unforgiving surface.
- Exposed rebar: Rebar is the circular rod of steel used to reinforce concrete structures and hold objects in place. From broken walls to missing concrete turtles, it is not uncommon for visitors to trip and fall over exposed rebar.
- Pooled liquids: Whether it is rainwater, leaky pipes or fluids dripping from a parked vehicle, these pooled liquids can quickly become a dangerous surface in a parking structure. Individuals often slip while attempting to step through these puddles.
- Poor lighting: A multi-level parking structure often relies on stairs to allow pedestrians to get from their vehicles to their destination or back to their car or truck. Poorly lit stairs, then, can lead to serious trips and falls. Additionally, poor lighting in the parking garage itself can result in visitors failing to see debris or puddles on the ground.
A slip-and-fall accident can lead to serious injuries including broken bones, torn ligaments, head trauma and spinal cord damage. Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of visitors, consumers and residents in a parking structure. To this end, they must ensure the area is clean, well-lit and contains the appropriate warning signs.