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Slip and Fall Accidents on Sidewalks and Parking Lots

Posted by: on Mon, Mar 30, 2015

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Nevada Slip-and-Fall Accidents – Sidewalks & Parking Lots

Slips and falls are a primary cause of injury in the U.S., leading
to around a million emergency room visits per year, according to the National
Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). Unfortunately, many of the slip-and-fall
accidents that end in emergency room visits happen in parking lots or on
sidewalks where they could have been prevented if the sidewalk or lot had been
properly designed and/or maintained.

When a slip or fall occurs on a parking lot or a sidewalk, the
owner of the property or the entity responsible for maintaining the space could
potentially be held liable for the fall and resulting injuries

How Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Happen on Nevada Parking Lots and Sidewalks?

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen almost anywhere. They can also
occur for a variety of different reasons. However, some of the most common
risks that lead to slip-and-fall accidents in parking lots include:

  • Ice – Black ice can blend into the pavement and be difficult to detect.
  • Snow or sleet – Snow and sleet, even though rare in the Atlanta area, can create a tripping hazard of their own but can also worsen the risk of black ice. A thin layer of snow can cover up an icy surface below.
  • Spills – Oil and other slippery fluids can spill onto the surface of a parking lot, creating a slick patch that is a tripping or slipping hazard.
  • Debris – Items left in parking lots or on sidewalks in walking paths can create a tripping hazard, causing a fall risk.
  • Uneven surfaces – An uneven surface on a sidewalk or parking lot pavement can result in your foot’s not landing as expected, causing your center of gravity to shift and leading to a fall.
  • Irregular or loose surfaces – Gravel and other uneven or irregular faces can be more difficult to walk on and can create a danger.
  • Inadequate lighting – A dark or shadowy parking lot can be dangerous on its own or can exacerbate the other risk factors that exist, such as ice or sleet, since it can be difficult to see that these dangers exist in a dark space.

These are some of the most common reasons for slips and falls,
trips and falls, steps and falls and stump-and-fall accidents. These accidents
can happen anywhere, from parking lots at shopping centers, restaurants or
churches to sidewalks that line the streets of your neighborhood.

Who is Responsible for Slip-and-Fall Accidents on Nevada Parking Lots and Sidewalks?

When a slip-and-fall accident occurs on a parking lot or a
sidewalk, it could cause serious injuries, including bone fractures, brain
injuries or even death. The costs of treating the injuries may be expensive and
lead to more financial problems as a result of missing work. If your accident
was caused by someone else’s negligence or failure to exercise reasonable care,
then the person who failed you can be held liable and made to pay for the
damages (both economic and non-economic) that you incurred.

A number of potential individuals or entities could potentially be
held liable for slip-and-fall accidents in parking lots or sidewalks. The
potential defendants in a slip-and-fall lawsuit after you injure yourself in a
slip and fall accident include:

  • Owners of the commercial establishment that provided the parking lot – Store or restaurant owners (and others running a commercial business) are expected to protect their business guests by regularly inspecting their premises (including the parking lot). They should either fix any dangers on the premises or warn guests about them. If a store or restaurant owner allows a hazard, such as a dark parking lot or a sidewalk in disrepair, then the store / restaurant owner could be held liable.
  • Operators of the commercial establishment that provided the parking lot – If a store or restaurant owner is renting or leasing their business property, they can still be held liable for injuries that occur on that property even if it is owned by another person or entity. Liability in these cases will depend on who had control and responsibility for the lot.
  • Apartment complex owners – If you visit a friend at an apartment and injure yourself, it can be complicated to determine whether your friend or the landlord is responsible for compensating you. The general rule, however, is that if the injury happens in a common space such as a parking lot, the apartment complex owner or manager can be held liable for monetary damages.
  • Government entities responsible for sidewalk maintenance – If you get injured on a public sidewalk, you could potentially sue the government entity responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. However, the government often enjoys limited protection from suit in most states, so these types of cases tend to be more complex and follow a different course than standard cases.

These parties are not the only potential defendants in a parking
lot or sidewalk slip-and-fall case. Any person or entity who had a duty to
maintain the space or area and who failed in that duty in a way that led to
your injury could potentially be held responsible.

Proving Liability in an Nevada Parking Lot or Sidewalk Slip and Fall

When you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident on a parking lot
or a sidewalk, you can recover compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain
and suffering and emotional distress in a personal injury lawsuit. However,
you’ll need to prove a few things in order to do so. For example, you’ll need
to prove:

  • The property owner had a responsibility to you to keep you safe.
  • The property owner failed to live up to his responsibility because he knew (or should have known) about the defect and didn’t correct it or warn you about it even though he had time to do so.
  • You were injured as a result of the failure of the property owner.
  • The danger was not “open and obvious,” which means you didn’t see the obvious hazard and choose to walk into it anyway.

 

Nevada Supreme Court Reaches Precedent Decision in Premises Liability Case

The Nevada Supreme Court published a landmark ruling dealing with premises liability on December 27, 2012. The Court, in Foster v. Costco, 128 Nev. Adv. Op. 71, 291 P.3d 150 (Nev. 2012)took a long look at the history of landownerliability in Nevada and held that the mere fact that a condition may be open and obvious does not automatically negate a landowner’s duty of care to someone injured on his property by the allegedly open and obvious condition.  Defendants in Nevada premises cases have often moved for summary judgment (arguing that no genuine issues of material fact exist and so the case can be decided as a matter of law) in “open and obvious” cases. This will likely stop nearly completely with the Court’s holding in Foster.In reaching its holding, the Court adopted the Third Restatement of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm section 51 (2012):A land possessor owes a duty of reasonable care to entrants on the land with regard to:

  1. conduct by the land possessor that creates risks to entrants on the land;
  1. artificial conditions on the land that pose risks to entrants on the land;
  1. natural conditions on the land that pose risks to entrants on the land; and
  1. other risks to entrants on the land when any of the affirmative duties are applicable.

This duty is extended to all entrants on land, not just those invited. Landowners bear a general duty of reasonable care to all entrants, stated the Court, regardless of the open and obvious nature of dangerous conditions.

The duty must be analyzed with regard to foreseeability and gravity of harm, and the feasibility and availability of alternative conduct that would have prevented the harm.

In considering whether reasonable care was taken, the fact-finder must also take into account the surrounding circumstances, such as whether the landowner had reason to suspect that the entrant would proceed despite a known or obvious danger.

Separate from but related to the reasonable care assessment is consideration of the entrant’s actions and whether he or she failed to exercise reasonable self-protection in encountering the danger.

Contact a Las Vegas, Nevada Sidewalk/Parking Lot Slip-and-Fall Lawyer Today

It can be difficult to prove liability in a slip-and-fall case
arising from an accident in a parking lot or on a sidewalk. At Albright
Stoddard, Warnick and Albright, we will help you every step of the way, from
choosing the right defendant to building solid evidence, and working with
expert witnesses. We can assist you by helping you to find engineers or other
expert witnesses, and by working with you to either negotiate a settlement or
prove your case in court if that becomes necessary. Our experience in handling
many such cases is that most Nevada defendants in premises liability cases are
unwilling to allow the plaintiff’s legal team to view any surveillance video
footage until after a lawsuit is filed and served.  Hence, it is becoming
more and more difficult to resolve these types of premises liability suits
without instituting litigation.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.

Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.

Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.