Visitor Question

Trip and Fall in a Parking Lot…

Submitted By: Angel (Glendale, California)

I went to my bank (a large national chain) to withdraw from the ATM on May 16, 2010 at 5.30 p.m. The parking lot had a big open hole in which I tripped and injured my right knee.

I reported the accident to the bank. The branch manager provided me a telephone number to contact their insurance adjuster. Now they are giving me a hard time and do not want to cooperate. What shall I do?

They are saying that since there is no witness they can’t help me. I want to file a case in small claims court. How can I claim damages? My total medical bills are $743. Please help.

Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Angel,

They are flat out wrong that the absence of witnesses means there is no liability. While having a witness certainly makes it easier to establish what happened, if there was a hazardous condition and you were injured, there is liability.

This is called a premises liability claim. Property owners are required to make reasonable inspections of property held open to the public and warn of hazardous conditions of which they become aware. It sounds as though there were no warnings of the hole in the parking lot.

What I would do is continue to assert your claim to the bank’s insurance company. Your damages are based upon your medical bills, so if they are in the range of $700-800, multiply that figure by 5 as a baseline starting point ($3,500-$4,000).

Do not worry about filing any lawsuits whether small claims or civil until you get a letter from the INSURANCE adjuster denying your claim. Check the statute of limitations for your state as well, which is more than likely 2 or 3 years.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 15, 2010

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One thought on “Trip and Fall in a Parking Lot…

  1. Oh Lord! What do they think you did, hurt your knee and then drove around until you found a parking lot with a hole in the yard.

    Did you notify the bank before or after you got treatment, in other words did you come back a few days later or did you notify the bank on the way to the doctor?

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