Unsafe Parking Lot Design Leads to Life-Changing Accident


Premises LiabilityThis case takes place in Illinois and involves a male Plaintiff who suffered serious and permanent injuries after an accident in the parking lot of a large shopping mall. The man had left the store with his purchases and was pushing a cart towards his car when a vehicle crashed into him in a crosswalk. The man was carried on the hood of the vehicle for several meters before the car crashed into a large sign, pinning him between the front of the vehicle and the sign. It is alleged that the parking lot lacked important safety features that could have prevented this incident, such as speed bumps and appropriate signage. The Plaintiff has suffered significant and permanent injuries, including paralysis below the waist, and will require a lifetime of ongoing care.

 

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Can you speak to design concepts/standards that should be used to account for traffic control in parking lots?
  • 2. What could have been done to avoid such an accident as described in the case summary?

Expert Witness Response E-000671

There are various means of controlling speed of vehicles within parking lots. These include posting speed limits, installing speed bumps or speed humps (two different varieties of speed-control systems), or placing stop and yield signs at critical locations. Whether the driver in this case violated any governing laws varies with the jurisdiction or state, which may or may not consider a parking lot private property and, therefore, not subject to governing regulations. This is generally not the case for purposes of speeding, reckless driving, or other risky behaviors. There are certainly a few features of this parking lot that seem to have allowed this accident to occur. Were there any controls, as described above, present? Was the driver in a lane with parked cars or in an “access route” along stores or street, or entering or exiting the lot? Obviously if no controls (signage, speed bumps, posted speed limits, etc.) were present, then one or all could have mitigated or prevented the accident.

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