Tips for a Safer Parking Lot: A Guide to Avoiding Costly Lawsuits

Am I responsible for someone slipping in my parking lot?

That is the question often asked by people after the accident. Every year tens of thousands of Americans sue property owners for parking lot related accidents including trip and falls, twisted ankles, or worse a fall that results in a death. If you own a business with a parking lot, or you are a property owner, you will want to maintain a safe parking lot for both your employees or tenants, and to reduce the potential for these lawsuits you should do a monthly walkthrough to find and repair these hazards before they become a real problem. If you don’t have time for this then consider calling and asking a paving company near you to look at your parking lot and prepare a quote to address these types of hazards. 

  Asphalt Trip Hazards, Parking Lot Hazards, Trip and Fall Lawsuits

General Parking Lot Safety Tips

  • Maintain adequate lighting in parking areas, on sidewalks, and in stairways to make the areas safer for pedestrians.

  • Ensure gutters and downspouts don’t drain water onto walkways or into parking areas. Standing water can cause moss if left long enough, or ice if cold enough.

  • Quickly clean up any spills reported. Including oil spots, spilled chemicals or other liquids.

  • If you have cold weather in your area consider a removal plan for snow and ice on sidewalks, stairs, parking areas, and around dumpsters.

  • Always repair potholes or uneven surfaces in driveways and parking lots. Also, watch for tree roots lifting asphalt, or broken wheel stops leaving the steel pins exposed as well.

Clogged Drains in Parking Lots


Sidewalks Steps & Ramp Hazards

  • Install handrails on stairways and ramps in accordance with local building codes. Don't forget the needs for handrails near ADA stalls if certain grades aren't met.

  • Ensure handrails are stable and securely fastened.

  • Consider using non-slip surfaces, such as tape or non slip paints.

bad ramp for ADA handicap stall


Concrete Walkways & Grass Areas

  • Repair uneven surfaces, large cracks, or bumps in the sidewalk.

  • Remove obstructions from walkways, such as newspaper stands, ladders and other maintenance equipment.

  • If there is a lawn sprinkler system, turn it off and drain the system when the temperature nears freezing. If you don’t, the pipes can freeze and create leaks and icy patches.

  • Consider adding concrete flow lines to remove standing water in general.

damage from standing water


Other Safety Considerations

  • If you own a building and have tenants, have a manager on duty whenever possible.

  • Post emergency phone numbers.

  • Keep first-aid kits handy and stocked.

  • Investigate and keep a record of incidents, including who was involved, dates, and circumstances.

  • Management should review all incident reports.


Damage Control Before Damage Is Done

Whenever you see or hear about a near miss or a trip and fall that didn't result in damage or a injury this should be at the top of your priority list. Near misses will only be missed so many times and these items are the first you should consider fixing in your parking lot. Next call a paving company near you, or call a parking lot maintenance company near you to get these items fixed. Consider their reputation online, make sure their licensed and insured, and offer free estimates. Then get them done! While they are there ask them for a hazard evaluation of the rest of your parking lot. A good solid professional paving contractor should be willing to do this at no cost to you, and it is likely that they will see hazards that you might have missed.

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