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Need Legal Advise?
Attorney Jason L. McCoy

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Injuries in Parking Areas

Injuries in Parking Areas

For almost every shopping center, school, or condo working, there is a parking area that enables individual’s access to these premises via automobile. Parking areas are helpful and convenient spots to leave a vehicle while individuals carry on with their everyday business, yet they can likewise be conceivably perilous.  

Consistently, numerous individuals are harmed from mishaps or assaults that happen in parking areas.  As an open access public place, premises liability laws must be addressed by proprietors of parking lots and garages. Individuals assume a specific level of security in a parking area. In the event that carelessness with respect to the parking lot or garage proprietor, the proprietor might be considered responsible for the harms that originate from that damage. Law Offices of Jason L. McCoy, LLC is glad to examine the obligation of the landowner of the parking lots and garages, and how our Vernon, New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford clients can guarantee they are legitimately compensated for harms occurring at fault of the proprietors’ negligence in parking lots and/or parking garage.

Obligation of Care

Premises liability laws have been based on the understanding that property owners must comply to a specific legitimate obligation of care. Those that are at the owner’s premises as a customer or guest of a tenant are known under CT law as invitees, and are owed the highest duty under CT law. This duty requires the landowner to inspect their property for latent defects, provide warnings of defects, and maintain their property to make it reasonably safe. Failure to this exposes the landowner to liability to the invitee under the law.  You are presumed to use all due care under Connecticut Law as an invitee.  

These premises liability laws apply to all territories of the property, including the parking area. The landowner owed a non-delegable duty to maintain their property and cannot pass off this responsibility to those it hires to do work there.

Parking Area Hazards

Mishaps are normal in parking garages. There are numerous components that can add to these.  Probably the most widely recognized parking area perils include:

Poor Lighting: A dim/dark parking area can be a hazardous place. Poor lighting frequently adds to mis-steps and falls. Poor lighting is likewise perfect for criminal action, as it makes it easier to slip around in the shadows. Subsequently, poor lighting expands the danger of burglary and physical assault, exposing the landowner to a separate claim for negligently failing to provide adequate security for its invitees.

Damaged Asphalt: Parking areas are utilized by numerous autos on any given day, so it isn’t a surprise that parking garage asphalt regularly ends up needing repair. Larger breaks, pot-holes, and unsafe wheel stops would all be able to be harmful or cause a fall or worse. A proper inspection would notice these slow developing defects and require the landowner to have them repaired immediately, or face liability.

Lacking or Poor Signage: Inadequate or poor signage is a specific worry for parking areas and structures. At the point when numerous autos are parked in a little space, inappropriate signage can increase the danger of an auto collision or, even worse, a passerby. While careless drivers can be considered in charge of these mishaps, premises liability laws likewise regularly apply.

Lacking Security:  One area that Attorney Jason L. McCoy handles with significate experience, and most law firms do not handle, which is referred to as inadequate security in parking lots or for that matter almost any premises which the owner has a financial motive to operate including municipal run garages and lots.  Parking lot and garage proprietors are not committed to provide security or adequate staff. Be that as it may, if a parking area is particularly large, if wrong-doing is an issue in that part of town, and if the property proprietors operate for profit from the location, it is sensible to believe that security will be on-site. Lacking security can increase the danger of criminal action, including ambush and/or assault, thereby exposing the landowner to liability.  

In Connecticut, in a premise liability case based on negligence where the injury was caused by a criminal or intentional act of a third party the issue is foreseeability. Question “is the intervention of the criminal within the foreseeable scope of the risk created by the defendant’s negligent conduct?” Stewart v. Federated Department Stores, Inc., 662 A.2d 753, 762 (1995); Hightower v. Walgreen Eastern Co., Inc., 2002 WL 1332497 (Conn.Super.).  If the answer is in the affirmative, then the defendant parking lot and garage proprietor has a duty to protect the YOU. Unless there is a circumstance where the owner or employee of the owner assumed control of the situation then all responsibility for consequences of his act is shifted to parking lot and garage proprietor. Burns v. Gleason Plant Security, Inc., 10 Conn. App. 480, 523 (1987).  In such a case, there is a duty based on the defendant’s act of assuming control.
If it is the owner or its employee who shot your client while trying to control the premises, then the duty and the breach of the duty are based on the assumed control of the situation. If your client was shot by a third person while patronizing a business, then the duty is based on the failure to protect an invitee from foreseeable acts of third parties that resulted in the injuries.
If you find that the defendant advertised its business as a safe place for people, or a place for families, or any inferential term that would let a reasonable person believe that he or she could go there with no worries or concern for safety, then negligent misrepresentation will work as a theory in your case, as well as a claim for unfair trade practices.  See Connecticut Regulation Sec. 42-110b-18 Misleading advertising (b) Misrepresent the age, model, grade, style or standard of merchandise or services; (e) Misrepresent the nature, characteristics, standard ingredients, uses, benefits, quantities or qualities of merchandise or services.
If there have been several similar incidents at the site, your claim is also based upon negligent failure to warn of a latent danger, or negligent repair and/or nuisance.
In Connecticut, you may develop a theory of liability that the operation of the business was an unfair trade practice that resulted in the injury to the victim as a consumer and therefor violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The basic elements revolve around the “for profit motive” of the defendant and the consumer’s expectation.  The key questions are:
             Is the practice within at least the penumbra of some common law, statutory law or other concept of unfairness;
             Whether it is immoral, unethical, oppressive or unscrupulous; and
             Whether it causes substantial injury to consumers. Abbhi v. Ami, 1997 WL 325850 (Conn.     Super.); Connecticut General Statute Section 42- 110b(a)(2003); Connecticut General Statute Section 42-110g(a) ; Connecticut General Statute Section 42-110g(d)
A violation of CUTPA can be demonstrated by actual deceptive practices or by conduct that violates public policy. Abbhi v. Ami, 1997 WL 325850 (Conn. Super.), at page 5; Suarez v. Sordo, 43 Conn. App. 756, 772, 685 A.2d 1144, 1153 (1996) Moreover intent to deceive need not be established. Abbhi v. Ami, 1997 WL 325850 (Conn. Super.), at page 5; Suarez v. Sordo, 43 Conn. App. 756, 772, 685 A.2d 1144, 1153 (1996); See also, Mola v. Home Depot USA, 2001 WL 1420669 (Conn. Super.); Abrams v. Riding High Dude Ranch, 198 Conn. Super. LEXIS 339 (Conn. Super. CT. Feb. 5, 1998); Levesque v. Willaimsburg Assocs., 1995 Conn. Super. LEXIS 495 (Conn. Super. CT. 1995); Robert M. Langer, John T. Morgan, David L. Belt FNC, 12 Conn. Prac., Unfair Trade Practice § 6.8, Chapter 6. Private Enforcement. The harm suffered by the consumer must result from the alleged violation. Suarez v. Sordo, 43 Conn. App. 756, 685 A.2d 1144 (1996); Lunn v. Hussey, 2003 WL 23191968 (Conn.Super.). Basically, the defendant created or maintained a hazard at the business, which was negligent or hazardous, it is defendant’s practice to do this because the defendant saved money by doing it, and the consumer went to the defendant’s place of business to purchase something and was injured by the business practice. Mola v. Home Depot USA, 2001 WL 1420669 (Conn. Super.) this language was taken from the pleading in this case. 
CUTPA and Public Municipal Parking: It is the rule in Connecticut that if the act engaged in is operated for the corporate benefit or pecuniary profit of the municipality, governmental immunity is not applicable. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-557n(B).  Municipal corporations like private corporations are treated as natural persons for virtually all purposes of constitutional and statutory analysis. In particular, they were routinely sued in both federal and state courts. See Owen v. City of Independence, 445 U.S. 622, 639-640. The fact that a small fee is charged does not necessarily deprive the municipality of governmental immunity. A fee charged as a means to derive a profit from the activity removes the benefit of an immunity or in this case the exception under 42-110c as a defense. Eva Doran v. Waterbury Parking Authority et al, 35 Conn. Supp. 280 (1979); Bruder v. New Haven Memorial Veterans Coliseum Authority, 1998 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1813. See Connecticut Parking Sevices 2013 WL 1800344. In the case of Eva Doran v. Waterbury Parking Authority et al, 35 Conn. Supp. 280, 282-283; 1979 Conn. Super. LEXIS 165; 408 A.2d 277 the Superior Court held that:
“the fact that a fee is charged in the present case indicates a commercial enterprise entered into for the corporate benefit of the municipality and goes beyond the mere incident of the public service rendered. The operation of a ramp garage by a municipality may admittedly be in the public interest in that it lessens congestion in the streets and promotes the flow of traffic. It appears to this court, however, that the activity has traditionally been an undertaking provided in a private capacity for commercial advantage. This court cannot, in good conscience, hold that the operation of a ramp garage constitutes a governmental function.” See the Connecticut Superior Court summary judgment decision in DANIEL M. LENNON v. NEW HAVEN PARKINGAUTHORITY NNH-CV-11-6022551-S. (8/29/2016)
There is a three part test for satisfying the substantial injury criterion used to determine whether a practice violates the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA): (1) the injury must be substantial, (2) it must not be outweighed by any countervailing benefits to consumers or competition that the practice produces, and (3) it must be an injury that consumers themselves could not reasonably have avoided. C.G.S.A. § 42-110b(a). Murray v. Taylor, 65 Conn. App. 300 (2001). Under CUTPA, a plaintiff may recover damages if he suffers an "ascertainable loss" of money or property. Conaway v. Prestia, 191 Conn. 484 (1983). Obviously, the plaintiff in the instant case has suffered an ascertainable loss as both economic and non-economic damages, all of which are clearly "ascertainable" by a jury. "An ascertainable loss is a 'deprivation, detriment (or) injury' that is 'capable of being discovered, observed, or established.'" Criscuolo v. Shaheen, 46 Conn. Sup. 53, 62 (1999, Blue, J.).

 Proof of Negligent Premises Liability

Premises Liability cases can be difficult to prove. It is up to the person injured to demonstrate that carelessness with respect to the property proprietor caused or added to wounds and harms. This is why it is important to seek out an experienced attorney early on while the evidence is still available to prove the defect. We are knowledgeable and experienced in proving premises liability cases and will gather the proof that is important to demonstrate the landowner’s breach of their obligations.
It is very important that you call our office at 860-872-7741 Law Offices of Jason L. McCoy, LLC if you have a possible claim for injury that occurred in parking facility.  

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