Whether it is the middle of the afternoon or late at night, parking garages can be shady, scary places. Even though many garages have security cameras and panic buttons, assaults still take place in these facilities every single day. When someone suffers from severe injuries after being assaulted in a parking garage, the perpetrator may not be the only person who is liable for a victim’s injuries. Owners and operators of parking garages have a legal duty to maintain safe facilities for visitors to occupy. The Philadelphia premises liability attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm discuss who is responsible for assaults in parking garages…
Safety Measures that can Prevent Assaults in Parking Garages
Philadelphia has experienced its fair share of violent crime over the years. Turn on Action News each morning, and you will see that the amount of crime that takes place in one night is alarming. Parking garages are a hot spot for crime because it is easy for criminals to catch people off guard while they are walking to and from their cars. For this reason, parking garages must take extra precaution to protect visitors from crime by installing safety measures that may include:
- Panic buttons
- Visible security cameras in garages, stairwells, and elevators
- Security guards
- Bright lights in the garage and surrounding stairs
- Speed bumps
- Signs indicating that the parking garage is under 24-hour surveillance
Unfortunately, investing in extra safety measures comes with costs that many companies do not want to pay for. Sometimes, owners will pay to install safety equipment, but they do not want to spend for the maintenance expenses to ensure that it is functioning as it should. An example of this would be if an owner or operator does not change light bulbs on a regular basis or does not take measures to ensure that security guards are doing their jobs correctly.
What Legal Duty is Owed to Parking Garage Visitors?
Parking garage owners have a legal duty to provide visitors with reasonable security. Under the law of premises liability, business owners can be held liable for third-party harm if reasonable security and safety measures are not taken. To prove fault in a premises liability case, there are four essential elements that must be shown:
- The parking garage owed a legal duty of care to the victim;
- The parking garage breached the legal duty of care it owed;
- The breach was the cause of the victim’s injuries; and
- As a result, the victim suffered damages
Pennsylvania follows the modified comparative fault rule for awarding damages in premises liability cases. This rule allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if a judge finds that the plaintiff was partially at fault. As long as a plaintiff was less than 50% at fault, he or she can recover damages in a premises liability case. The amount of damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is apportioned to the plaintiff. For example, a plaintiff’s damages for injuries suffered in a parking garage assault amounts to $100,000. A judge finds that the plaintiff was 30% at fault. Thus, the plaintiff’s award will be reduced by $30,000. The plaintiff can recover $70,000 in damages. A skilled Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can be helpful in providing an honest assessment of the damages you may be able to recover.
Damages for Injuries Suffered During a Parking Garage Assault
Injuries suffered by victims of assault in parking garages can range from mild to very severe. The dollar amount of damages a victim can recover will vary on a case by case basis. Two types of damages may be awarded in a premises liability suit: “compensatory” and “punitive”. Compensatory damages are awarded for the purpose of making the victim “whole.” Some of these damages may include:
- Present and future lost income
- Present and future medical expenses
- Household services
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are awarded less frequently than compensatory damages. They are awarded when a defendant’s behavior is found to be particularly egregious or outrageous. Their purpose is to make an example out of a defendant in an effort to deter other people from committing similar acts in the future.
Philadelphia Premises Liability Attorneys
When parking garage owners and operators fail to maintain a safe space for their visitors, severe injury or even death can result. Parking garages with features such as poor lighting, lack of security personnel, and/or minimal surveillance will likely attract criminals who want to prey on vulnerable visitors. It is not only important for victims to be compensated for their injuries, but it is also critical to public health and safety that parking garage owners are held accountable for negligent security measures.
If you or someone you love has been assaulted in a parking garage, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries. Many times, assaults that take place in parking garages could have been easily prevented if owners took proper safety precautions. The Philadelphia premises liability attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm are here to fight for you to receive just compensation for your injuries. For a free and confidential consultation, call the Bucks County personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000.