While navigating parking garages, motorists often let their guards down. However, parking garages are riskier than you may think. When there is a lack of street parking, motorists usually turn to parking garages as they offer a protected area for individuals to park their vehicles. While these compacted structures may be convenient, they can also be extremely dangerous. Several different types of accidents may occur, resulting in devastating injuries. If you were injured in a parking garage accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Please continue reading and contact a dedicated Morris County Automobile Accidents Attorney who can help you fight to obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Why do accidents happen in parking garages?
Unfortunately, parking garage accidents can happen whether you’re on foot or behind the wheel. Numerous factors can contribute to the cause of such incidents, given that parking garages can be compact, making it difficult to navigate and maneuver vehicles, endangering both motorists and pedestrians. Some of the most common causes of accidents in parking garages include but are not limited to the following:
- Lack of maintenance: When the appropriate parties fail to properly maintain parking garages, hazardous property conditions can arise, posing a significant risk to pedestrians. When unsafe property conditions are not fixed in a reasonable timeframe, pedestrians are more susceptible to trips, slips, and falls. Potholes and defects in parking areas can also cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles.
- Distracted & reckless driving: When motorists are distracted, texting, eating, or conversing with passengers, they are not paying attention to the road. This means they may not see other vehicles pulling in or out of parking spaces. They may not see pedestrians walking either, resulting in devastating accidents. Driving recklessly, such as excessively speeding in these tight facilities, can also lead to severe crashes.
- Missing or conflicting signage: In parking garages, signage helps motorists and pedestrians navigate traffic. They mandate the speed limit, where vehicles should yield and stop, and indicate when a motorist travels in the wrong direction or should not enter an area. When parking garages do not display the proper signage or install conflicting signage, it can lead to a collision.
As you can see, parking garage accidents can arise due to various factors. Multiple parties may be liable for the resulting injuries when these accidents occur.
Who is at fault for a parking garage accident in New Jersey?
Generally, if a motorist strikes another vehicle or pedestrian, they can be held liable if you prove their negligence directly caused your injuries. However, if a pedestrian is injured in a parking garage due to unsafe property conditions, the property owner could be held liable for damages depending on whether it is private or government-owned. If the accident was caused by a dangerous property condition, you can take legal action agains the property owner.
If it is a municipal parking garage, you must file a Notice of Claim due to New Jersey’s sovereign immunity doctrine. You cannot take legal action against a government entity without permission. Therefore, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the incident, which provides the entity before the commencement of your lawsuit that they could be subject to a claim for damages. Failure to file a claim within this strict deadline will bar you from pursuing legal action.
If you’ve been injured in a parking garage accident, it is in your best interest to contact a talented attorney from Lutz Injury Law who can assist you in recovering the financial compensation you deserve.