Collisions in parking lots and parking garages may seem minor in comparison to accidents on busy streets and major roadways. However, these incidents can still result in devastating injuries, and it can be hard to determine who is accountable.
A Fort Collins parking lot accident lawyer who is experienced in handling both car collision claims and premises liability cases could help you recover fair compensation. An experienced attorney at Mac Hester Law can launch an investigation into your case, collect the necessary evidence to build a strong argument, and help you find financial relief.
How are Parking Lot Accidents Different from Street Crashes?
Accidents in parking lots usually happen at a slower speed than on public streets and highways, so the injuries that result are typically less severe. However, the difference with parking lot crashes is that collisions are not only between cars, but sometimes between a vehicle and a pedestrian. In these cases, there could be severe injuries because a pedestrian has no protection when hit by a car.
If the collision is significant, the pedestrian will often have broken bones, internal injuries, and head trauma from hitting the hood of the vehicle or striking the ground.
The Premises Liability Act in a Parking Lot or Garage Case
In Fort Collins, an accident in a parking lot or on private property may be handled differently from other automobile collision claims. A parking lot on private property may be governed by the Premises Liability Act, which is different from the common law of negligence used in accident cases on public streets and highways.
The Premises Liability Act in Colorado applies to all cases where there has been an injury on another’s property. An injured person would have to prove fault under the Premises Liability Act, which is a different legal standard than determining liability under the common law of negligence for car accidents.
This act is a very complex law that few attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience in. Hiring a professional in the area who is experienced in handling not only injury claims, but also premises liability cases is recommended when dealing with the aftermath of a parking lot accident.
Insurance Companies and Premises Liability Accidents
Insurance companies will want to investigate whether the accident was in a private, public, or government parking lot, as there will be different legal concepts and consequences involved for each.
If a governmental entity is involved, the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act may apply, in which case, there are strict time limits, notice provisions, and categories of liability. The insurance company will want to see if those immunity provisions apply.
Insurance providers often hope that the Premises Liability Act applies in these cases because it has different and more difficult standards of liability than the common law of negligence. They want to take advantage of the looser legal liability, concepts, and consequences as to avoid paying the claimant any restitution.
Colorado has a comparative negligence law, which compares the contribution of all parties to the cause of the accident. In parking lot cases, the negligence of each driver is compared, and if the injured person was less than 50% at fault, then the plaintiff will be able to recover some damages against the at-fault party, although the compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For example, if the injured person was 20% at fault, they would only be able to recover 80% of their damages. However, if the injured person is 50% or more responsible for the incident, they may not be able to recover any damages against the at-fault driver. A local representative could help a plaintiff minimize their assignment of fault to recover as much compensation as possible.
Hiring the Right Fort Collins Parking Lot Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a parking lot case, the qualities you should look for in a personal injury representative are substantial experience in handling automobile injury and premises liability claims. The attorneys at Mac Hester Law are experienced in these matters and want to help you through the legal process of filing a claim for damages. Call a Fort Collins parking lot accident lawyer today to find financial relief.