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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    Parking Lot Injuries: Who’s Responsible?

    In many instances people injured in parking lot accidents can hold the parking lot owner or operator responsible. In addition, victims can seek damages for financial losses such as hospital bills, disability, and other effects of the incident. 

    Too few people realize they aren’t necessarily at fault when something goes wrong in a parking lot. They wrongly assume something like a trip and fall or getting electrocuted was a result of their carelessness or oversight. 

    However, property owners and businesses have a duty of care for parking lot patrons. They’re responsible for basic maintenance and security to protect employees, customers, and visitors from harm. 

    Working with an experienced parking lot personal injury lawyer can help you or someone you love hold people accountable for injuries that should have been avoided. The right legal team will help you win compensation for medical bills, lost income from work, and pain and suffering.

    Let’s explore common reasons for parking lot accidents and who’s responsible when they happen. 

    Common Risks in Parking Lots

    There’s risk in everything we do, including moving through a parking lot. That risk changes based on several factors, including:

    • Maintenance</strong – Is the parking lot in good shape? Personal injury risks are certainly higher in parking lots with cracks, potholes, uneven surfaces, and other regular maintenance. These may seem like minor issues, but they become vital when someone gets hurt. Parking lot visitors frequently trip and fall, which can break limbs, cause traumatic brain injuries, and other serious issues.
    • Poor Signage – Parking lots should clearly mark any warnings or hazards in the area. Likewise, there should be clear signage that tells drivers where to go, speed limits, and other instructions required to keep everyone safe. Poor signage can lead to unintended collisions caused by pedestrian and driver confusion. Therefore, there should always be marked crosswalks and speed limits.
    • Inadequate Lighting – Risks in parking lots usually increase at night. When it’s dark, it’s harder to see potential hazards like holes, cracks, tree limbs, curbs, etc. There are minimum lighting and illumination standards that must be met in order to have a reasonably safe premises like a parking lot.
    • Crime Risks – When people think of crime in parking lots, they usually envision car break-ins and other petty crimes of opportunity. However, under the above conditions, criminals can do much worse. People are raped, mugged, and killed in parking lots across the country because the environment is such that it’s easy for people to identify targets and hide their identities. 

    Proving Negligence in Parking Lot Personal Injury Cases

    After severe injuries, victims should seek immediate medical care. However, once you or your loved one is stable, you should contact an expert parking lot injury lawyer to examine the details of what happened and whether you have a case. 

    In most cases, the first step is identifying negligence and liable parties in any incident. Proving negligence is may or may not be staightforward, but a skilled parking lot personal injury lawyer will help you know whether your situation meets legal thresholds that will win settlements or court cases. The insurance company for the defendant will almost always have a defense to the claim.

    To prove negligence, you must typically show that:

    1. A party involved had a duty of care (duty of care generally refers to a responsibility to care for, in this case, the parking lot). A lot will depend on the status of the person hurt: were they a business invitee, licensee or trespasser. There is a different duty of care owed to someone depending on which category they fall into.
    2. There was a breach in their duty of care (the liable party failed to live up to reasonable standards of operations or practices). 
    3. Someone was hurt due to a breach of the duty of care (the injury or death must relate to the violation). 
    4. The injuries caused financial hardship, trauma, pain/suffering, or other losses. 

    If your case meets these four criteria, you likely have a parking lot personal injury case. Working with a lawyer with experience in parking lot cases is your best avenue to winning a claim and getting the compensation you deserve. 

    Parking Lot Personal Injury Lawyers – Experience Matters

    The law firm you choose to represent you in your case is likely the most crucial choice you’ll make. With so much on the line, it’s essential to carefully consider the attorney you’ll work with to pursue damages in a parking lot personal injury claim. 

    One of the best ways to choose an attorney is to review their past cases and whether they’ve represented victims in cases similar to yours. 

    Here in Florida, John Leighton has been a leading parking lot personal injury lawyer for years. He’s nationally recognized for his ground-breaking efforts to protect victims by holding negligent parties accountable, even to the point where Mr. Leighton and his firm paved the way for the first parasailing regulation law to pass in the country. 

    Verdict Examples

    In addition to professional achievements, personal injury victims should examine the outcome of similar cases. Here’s a look at just a few of Leighton Panoff Law’s verdicts and settlements in parking lot personal injury claims. 

    $1,510,000 Verdict – John Leighton led a case representing Tim Jeffery and his wife after a parking lot shooting. During the incident, Mr. Jeffery heard an elderly women scream in front of a Publix grocery store. He watched a man grab her purse and run into a waiting truck. Mr. Jeffery chased the truck on foot but was shot in the chest by the robber as he approached the car. He almost died in the incident. John Leighton tried the case in front of a Miami jury, eventually winning a $1.5 million award

    $200,00 SettlementJohn Leighton sued a mall on behalf of a female client who was robbed in the mall’s parking lot in Boca Raton. In this case, a man approached the woman and pistol-whipped her, then robbed her of her purse. The mall was a site of prior muggings and assaults, and the company didn’t make any enhancements to security there. 

    $140,000 Settlement – Leighton Panoff Law represented an elderly woman robbed in a Broward County condo parking lot as she walked from her car to her apartment. The assailant knocked her down and injured her knee. They won the settlement after proving security was insufficient. 

    Confidential Settlement – Leighton Panoff Law won a confidential settlement in a case where a woman was raped in a school parking lot. Once again, John Leighton proved the school had faulty security measures that contributed to the sexual assault of a student. 

    Leighton law has successfully recovered verdicts and settlements in many other kinds of parking lot cases involving slips, falls, trips, impacts with cars, and violent crime.

    These are just some cases in which Leighton Panoff Law has won or reached settlements to help victims recover from injuries. 

    Who’s Responsible for Parking Lot Injuries?

    Who is at fault when someone is raped in a parking lot or mugged? 

    Many people quickly assume the property owner is always liable for any injuries on the premises. While this may often be the case, there’s more at play in many parking lot personal injury cases. 

    Here’s a look at some possible liable parties:

    • Owners/Managers – Whether it’s an owner of a store or apartment complex, property owners typically are most liable for what happens on their grounds. They’re responsible for keeping the parking lot well-lit, safe, and in good condition. 
    • Security Companies – Sometimes, property owners hire third-party security companies to patrol grounds, monitor vehicles coming in and out and prevent crime. These companies are responsible for deploying reasonable security measures in parking lots to keep patrons safe. 
    • Manufacturers – Property owners pay a lot for lights, alarms, cameras, security gates, and other parking lot safety measures. If one or more components of a security system fail, they increase the risk that crimes like sexual assault or muggings occur. 

    Your lawyer should identify who is responsible and which parties may have contributed to your injuries. They’ll explore the circumstances of your case and gather evidence, eventually focusing on parties liable for damages. 

    What Affects Settlement Amounts?

    It’s normal to wonder how much a victim will win in a parking lot injury case or any other personal injury case. 

    Typically, people face enormous stress related to injuries and the trauma from the incident. Not only must they go through challenging physical recoveries, but they must also work through the emotional scars from an assault or some other crime. 

    Severe injuries or wrongful death inflict serious financial hardships. Victims must pay for the following:

    • Medical Visits
    • Therapy
    • Physical Therapy
    • Funeral Arrangements (When someone dies)
    • Property Damage
    • & Other Costs

    In addition, a victim of sexual assault or a brutal mugging isn’t always ready to return to work or school immediately. Usually, they require time to heal and process what happened.  Pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement and mental anguish are all elements of damage that may be recovered if the facts support these claims.

    An experienced parking lot personal injury lawyer knows how to assess cases and understand the value of a claim or how much they should pursue in damages. They work with victims to set expectations. Then, they aggressively seek compensation from liable parties. 

    Hiring lawyers with a successful track record of negotiating settlements and winning court cases is essential for injury victims. 

    The team at Leighton Panoff Law has spent years representing victims in parking lot injury cases and winning them substantial settlements and awards as compensation for their experiences. 

    We offer free consultations to examine your case and discuss the best next steps. Contact us today if you or someone you love needs help after a parking lot injury or negligent security incident.

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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