How much is my case really worth? It is the question - spoken or unspoken - on the lips of every injury victim.
We post the jury verdicts and settlements of our lawyers and other attorneys around the country. We have done that here in parking lot injury claims.
These verdicts might teach you a lot about the value of the case. But understand their limitations, too. No two cases are quite the same and quite often the critical difference between your case and the one we wrote about involved a fact that we did not mention or the significant fact in the case is not readily apparent.
Comparing types of motor vehicle injuries is one path to find the value of your case. This is the vehicle to look at the value of your parking lot crash claim from this perspective.Parking Lot Accidents Settlements and Jury Verdicts
- January 2014, New Jersey: $100,000 Settlement: A woman in her mid-20s was attempting to leave a parking lot through the designated exit when she was struck head-on. She suffered multiple cervical disc herniations and bulges and sued the driver for negligence. While the Defendant did not deny liability, he did argue the extent of the Plaintiff’s injuries, claiming that all injuries were diagnosed six months after the collision. Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon contended that all injuries were sustained from the motor vehicle accident. The parties agree to settle prior to trial for $100,000.
- October 2013, Florida: $148,493 Verdict: A barista was stopped in the parking lot of West Boca Raton Community High School when she was re-ended. Seven days subsequent to the accident, she visited her orthopedic surgeon with complaints of neck and back pain, and she was diagnosed with having sustained sprains and strains for her neck and back. She was also diagnosed by a neurosurgeon with nerve irritation from spinal fluid leaking. Her injuries resulted in her receiving intermittent physical therapy and chiropractic treatment for the following four years. The barista brought a personal injury suit against the driver who rear-ended her as well as the driver’s father who was the owner of the vehicle. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in the operation of the motor vehicle in failing to stop and prevent the collision. Defense counsel argued the nature and extent of her injuries, claiming that the gaps in the plaintiff’s treatment indicated that the treatment was unrelated to the accident. Defendants’ medical expert testified that the sprains and strain sustained by the plaintiff were not permanent and did not require future treatment or surgery. The suit continued to trial in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court where a jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her $148,498 for injuries and damages.
- September 2013, Illinois: $153,446 Verdict: A 60-year-old man was walking in the parking lot of a local Lexus dealership to pick up his vehicle after it had been serviced. While walking towards his vehicle, he slipped on tire dressing left on the ground. Following the fall, the man took himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago where he was diagnosed with a concussion and a knee sprain. Two weeks later he was diagnosed with having sustained an aggravation to pre-existing damage in his knee. He underwent three weeks of physical therapy and a few years following the incident had to undergo a total knee replacement. The man sued the dealership for negligence in allowing a hazardous condition and violating its own company policy by applying tire dressing outside of the designated car wash area. Defendant denied negligence and contended that the parking lot was in a reasonably safe condition and that the plaintiff should have been aware that potentially hazardous conditions were possible in a car dealership parking lot. A Cook County Circuit court jury found the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and awarded him $153,446 for damages.
- August 2013, New Jersey: $450,000 Settlement: A counselor for homebound patients with mental disabilities was visiting a patient in their residence on Orchard Street in Elizabeth. After completing the visit, she returned to the rear parking lot where she had parked her vehicle. There, she tripped in a pothole and fell. While she did not immediately seek medical treatment, she began to experience lower-back pain and chose to visit her physician. She was diagnosed with a disc herniation and aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Along with physical therapy and pain management, she underwent a microdiscectomy four months following the fall and a revision surgery two years later. The woman sued the property management company for premises liability in failing to properly maintain safe conditions in their parking lot. The defense argued that the plaintiff had documented complaints of lower back pain for five years prior to the accident and had been in treatment for several months prior to the accident. Their orthopedic expert also testified that the injuries were unrelated to the accident. The plaintiff contended that the injuries she sustained from her fall had affected her ability to continue working and she was no longer able to take care of her children and enjoy recreational activities. The parties chose to bring the case to mediation where they agreed on a $450,000 settlement.
- February 2011, Maryland: $24,590 Verdict: A 34-year-old woman was driving in the Metro Station parking lot in Prince George’s County. A public transportation bus was traveling parallel to the woman when the two vehicles collided with the driver’s side of the bus clipping the right corner of the woman’s car. Following the collision, the woman was treated for soft tissue injuries to her back. She sued the bus driver and his employer for negligence, claiming that the driver crossed the solid white line dividing the two vehicles. Initially, the defendant contended that it was the plaintiff who had crossed over the solid line. But after the defendant’s street supervisor provided a statement that the accident occurred on the plaintiff’s side of the white line, defense argued that the boulevard law, a rule in which the driver of a vehicle entering a highway from a smaller road or entrance must yield the right of way to all oncoming highway traffic, applied. A Prince George’s County Court found in favor of the plaintiff with a $24,590 verdict.
- January 2010, Maryland: $41,471 Verdict: A 29 year-old auto mechanic was walking in a Pep Boys' parking lot when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle who was attempting to back out of his parking space. Plaintiff received treatment for soft tissue injuries and a contusion to his right ribs, and was assigned a 15% permanency rating of the lower back. He sued the driver for negligence, claiming that he failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians while exiting a parking spot. Defendant denied all liability, claiming that he did not hit the plaintiff with his vehicle. A medical expert for the defendant testified that the plaintiff was over treated for his alleged injuries and argued the disability rating given by the plaintiff’s medical expert. The suit continued to trial where a jury found on behalf of the plaintiff with an award of $35,000 for pain and suffering and $6,471 for past medical bills, totaling $47,471.
No. Maryland is an “at-fault” state for auto accidents. This applies to parking lots the same as it does to roads and highways. If there is an accident in a parking lot the same determination of fault must be made just like in any other accident. The difference with parking lots is that there may be more ambiguity because parking lots can be private property and may not have the same street signs and traffic signals as public roads.
The police will always respond to auto accidents on a public road. However, many parking lots on private property which means that the police may not have the same obligation to respond to an accident scene. In most jurisdictions in Maryland, however, the police will usually respond to an accident no matter where it is.
Fault in parking lot car accidents is determined the same way as in car accidents on the road. The drive who is found to have violated traffic rules is at fault. Parking lot accident cases almost always involve some type of failure to yield or backing up into a stationary car when pulling out. The failure to yield cases can be tricky sometimes because parking lots don’t always have the same level of signage as roads. There may be “implied” stop signs in large parking lots.
Parking lot injuries can be tough claims, particularly if you are not a pedestrian because there is a school of thought percolating around insurance companies that you really cannot get hurt in a parking lot crash because there is not enough speed to cause harm, including pedestrians. This is particularly true in cases where the injury is a herniated disc or whiplash where the injury or the origin of the injuries are in question.
If you have a parking lot injury case with serious injuries, you need a lawyer and you need one sooner rather than later. There are always factual disputes - parking lots are often he said/she said cases. As a result, there is always a great deal of evidence to gather and a sophisticated injury case needs presented.
If you would like us to steer you through this maze, call 1.800.553.8082 or reach out to us online, here.More Information