As ice coated Oklahoma City in February 2023, around 37 people suffered slip and fall accidents across the city—including a local police officer. Around 30 of those incidents required emergency medical transportation. Fall injuries can cause significant damage to the injured party, including broken bones, head injuries, and more. 

Exercising caution, especially in icy conditions, can go a long way toward decreasing the risk of a fall. Learning how to fall properly and how to brace yourself, including how to avoid landing with an outstretched hand that could break your wrist or fingers, can also make a difference. If you do suffer injuries in a slip and fall, however, you may have the option to pursue compensation from the liable party.

Factors That May Influence Liability

You will need to establish liability for your slip and fall accident in order to file a claim against the party that caused your accident. That may mean working with a lawyer to look at several critical factors.

What Caused the Accident?

In order to determine liability for a slip and fall accident in a parking lot, you may first need to take a look at what likely led to the slip and fall. Several factors can contribute to the risk of a slip and fall in a parking lot, including:

  • Damaged or cracked pavement
  • Snow and ice, common during Oklahoma winters, that the property owner failed to clear away
  • Excessive trash or debris in the parking lot
  • Unexpected hazards, including concrete wheel stops
  • Potholes
  • Inadequate lighting, which can make it more difficult to see those potential hazards

In order to establish liability for your slip and fall, you may need to show that the liable party committed an act of negligence that led to your accident. For example, you might show that the property owner failed to properly maintain the parking lot, leading to dangerous cracks that caused your accident; or, you might show that the business responsible for the parking lot failed to take care of cleanup in a timely manner. 

Who Owns the Parking Lot?

When you suffer a slip and fall in a parking lot, you may need to take a careful look at who owns the parking lot. Sometimes, multiple businesses share a single parking lot. Often, that parking lot belongs to a larger company that rents out space to those businesses, which means that the larger company may actually bear responsibility for the parking lot itself. A lawyer can help you take a closer look at who likely owns the parking lot and what you might need to do about it. 

Who Bears Responsibility for Parking Lot Upkeep?

The contract that governs use of the parking lot space may also provide insight into who bears responsibility for maintaining the parking lot. In the case of common hazards in the parking lot, including debris or shopping carts, the business that operates in the area may bear liability for removing those items and keeping them from posing a hazard to visitors. On the other hand, responsibility for larger-scale damage, like potholes, may rest with the company that actually owns the lot.

When it comes to snow and ice, upkeep can prove tricky. Often, the contract between the owner and the party using the parking lot will lay out who bears responsibility for clearing away snow and making sure that the area remains safe for visitors. A lawyer may need to look over the contract and get more information about how to manage those bites. 

Protecting Yourself After a Parking Lot Fall

Slip and Fall Accident Law

A parking lot accident can cause severe injuries. Broken bones in the hands and arms, a broken hip in the elderly, or even head trauma if you hit your head when you fall can all result from a simple trip in a parking lot. That can mean considerable expenses, from ongoing medical costs to lost income due to inability to work after your injuries. Pursuing an injury claim can provide you with compensation for those damages and make it easier for you to cover the cost of your bills. 

However, an injury claim can prove complicated. Make sure you take the right steps to protect yourself after a slip and fall.

  • Take photos of the accident scene. Do not put yourself in danger or risk another fall to get pictures, but do take photos of anything that likely contributed to the accident. 
  • Report the accident. You may need to report the accident to the local police, in the case of severe damage. If a slip and fall occurs in a store parking lot, you may want to report the accident to the store to get it on the record and make it easier for you to pursue a claim.
  • Get contact information for anyone who saw you fall. Having witnesses can make it much easier to clearly establish what led to the accident. Those witnesses can prove essential as part of an injury claim.
  • Seek medical attention immediately. Do not put off medical care for a slip and fall, which could worsen injuries.
  • Once you have talked to a doctor, make sure you follow any instructions related to recovery, including avoiding any activities that could worsen injuries. You may also need to make sure that you attend all necessary appointments, therapy sessions, and more.
  • Avoid posting about the accident on social media or sharing unnecessary information. 
  • Talk to a slip and fall accident lawyer to learn more about your right to compensation, including how you can best establish liability for your slip and fall accident.
  • Keep track of ongoing medical expenses and medical records. Those records can prove essential to establishing the damages you suffered because of the accident.
  • Make sure you file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. In Oklahoma, you have two years from the date of an accident to move forward with an injury claim. 

By taking these steps, you can protect yourself after a parking lot fall and increase your ability to recover compensation.

If you have suffered an injury in a slip and fall, contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 today for a free consultation. 

When injury victims need a law firm with a reputation for excellence, turn to Graves McLain Injury Lawyers. We are a top-rated personal injury firm determined to be the best. With decades of award-winning representation, our clients recover the compensation they need to put their lives back together.

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