[United States, June 2021] The public is increasingly going to court for injuries in commercial parking lots. These personal injury cases can devastate businesses financially, and almost every one of these lawsuits is preventable even if the parking lot is old.
In one case, a pothole cost a restaurant $232,000 after it caused two injuries. Two patrons left the Grills Riverside Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar in Melbourne, Florida. On the way out, their car hit a pothole that caused neck injuries. The restaurant was held partially liable by the court.
That’s one example of the financial cost of not maintaining a parking lot. Potholes, cracks, broken parking stops, lighting, uneven surfaces, and even ice can become part of litigation against a commercial property owner.
While the parking lot may not seem like it needs the same care as the building, it still falls in the duty of care for the property owner. That means the owner must take reasonable measures to prevent injury on that part of the premises.
No business wants to pay part of the over 4 billion dollars a year in premises liability settlements or lawsuits. Kroger executives never imagined they would need to pay $69,660,000 in 2019 due to an incident that caused paralysis in their parking lot in Georgia.
In contrast, parking lot maintenance is significantly less expensive. Patching a square foot of pothole is less than $100 in many places. Sealcoating to prevent cracks is a couple of thousand dollars every few years. Crack filling costs about a dollar per linear foot.
Asphalt contractors are busier than ever helping business owners mitigate the risks of litigation. In some areas, business owners may need to learn to do the work themselves to ensure they’ve taken all reasonable measures.
It’s in every business’s best interest to take reasonable measures in their parking lot just as they do within the store itself. Doing proactive maintenance prevents many hazards that companies could be held liable for if there are pedestrian injuries.
Asphalt Kingdom is a trusted supplier of asphalt sealcoating and repair products operating across the United States. The company also provides business advice for people interested in starting their own asphalt maintenance companies and support for existing contractors.