Who is responsible for my medical bills if I fell in a parking lot of a business? 40 Answers as of July 03, 2013

We were leaving a bar and I was walking across the dark parking lot and tripped over a railroad tie and fell and hit face first. I was knocked unconscious and had too be taken by squad to the hospital. I have fractures to the right side of my face. Who is responsible for my bills etc.?

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Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
In order to make a claim against a property owner (including stores, parking lots, apartments, etc) the injured party has to show that the owner knew or should have known of the hazard, had an opportunity to correct it, and failed to take action. So, you would have to prove that the owner of the parking lot knew of the railroad tie, had time to remove it, and did not do so. There is another possibility: some business owners have what is called a medical payments provision of a liability insurance policy. Although it is not required, this provision will pay medical expenses up to a certain amount, regardless of fault
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/27/2011
The Murphy Law Firm
The Murphy Law Firm | Candace M Murphy
Well, the first thing you will need to do is to consult an attorney. The attorney will be able to ask questions and determine whether or not you may have a valid claim; and if so, what possible damages you may have sustained. He/She may ask such questions as: Was the lighting adequate? Was it too dark in the parking lot? Were you drinking? If so, how much have you had to drink? What were you doing at the time of the fall? Were you talking to friends? Were you looking straight ahead? Were you looking at friends? Basically, they will ask you a host of questions which would be similar to the questions an opposing attorney would ask. The attorney would also inquire about whether or not a claim was filed with the bar owner, etc. Once this information is collected, the attorney will be able to formulate a legal analysis of your case.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/15/2011
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
Unless you can show that someone was negligent and that caused you to fall and hurt yourself, then you are responsible. That is what Personal Injury law is all about. If someone allowed an unsafe situation on their property and you can show that they know or should have known that it was unsafe, and also prove that it was this negligence that caused you to hurt yourself, then the property owner and/or his insurer will be held responsible.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 12/14/2011
Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
A business in Michigan is responsible for a reasonable safe premises. A railroad tie may be considered "open and obvious" and thus not a defect in the premises. We need to look at the specifics of your situation before a blanket statement can be made. A business that does not provide a reasonably safe premises is responsible for all the damages that flow from the violation of that rule.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/14/2011
Broad Law Firm, LLC
Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
In Indiana, the property owner might have some fault, as well as possibly the owner of the bar, depending on what the lease might say (assuming the bar owner is leasing the property). In addition, there may be some comparative fault on your part depending on the facts.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 2/17/2012
    Terpak Law | Stephen Michael Terpak
    For the owner or manager of the parking lot to be liable for the bills, they have to be guilty of negligence. This usually means they have to have some notice of the dangerous condition. For you to win, in general, you also cannot be guilty of any negligence. Therefore, this case is fact specific and a lawyer would have to know the circumstances and layout of the parking lot and railroad tie to give you an accurate evaluation of the case. However, some premises liability or business liability insurance policies in Virginia carry a "medical payments" provision that pays a limited amount for medical bills regardless of fault. Such a policy may apply in your case, but it is impossible to tell with the information provided.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Maybe the bar, the owner/operator of the parking lot (if different from the business), or possibly there is shared culpability among you and the other(s). If the latter, under the Virginia rule of negligence, any responsibility on your part for your accident would be a bar to recovery from the other(s).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    The question is who is responsible for your fall. If the railroad tie was open and obvious you should have seen it and avoided it. that is the position the insurance carrier will take. If it were somehow hidden or defective in some way not noted your situation would be arguably different. You don't get paid because you are on on someones property. You get paid because of negligence. And if you are also negligent in NC you lose.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You should consult with a plaintiff's personal injury or an accident lawyer for specific legal advice and assistance regarding liability for your fall and resulting injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    RECHTMAN & SPEVAK | DAVID RECHTMAN
    By law, the bar or the owner of the parking lot may be liable for medical bills & pain/suffering if they are negligent. Your own negligence, if any, would counter the bar or parking lot owners responsibility. Cases like these often require lengthy, involved litigation. Another alternative is that the bar or parking lot may carry no fault insurance coverage that provides benefits for medical payments relating to injuries on the property.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Richard Martin
    Whether the business is liable would depend of the facts of the case, such as whether the business knew or should have known about the hazard. You should take pictures of the area and consult a personal injury attorney immediately to assess your case.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    It depends on the state. It appears you were partially or totally at fault for your injuries. You should contact them to see if they have medical payment coverage on the parking lot. It could pay for your bills. You should talk to a local attorney to see if there is any liability on the bar. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Alabama. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A.
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A. | Howard Mishkind
    Regardless of who is at fault, the owner of the parking lot may have insurance called medical payment coverage. If he does have medical payment coverage this should pay for part of your medical bills regardless of whether not he is or is not liable. If the concrete barrier was open and obvious and you tripped over it may be difficult to hold the owner of the parking lot legally responsible for your injuries. If you were intoxicated at the time and did not see the concrete barrier that would make it more difficult to have him held liable. If the lighting in the parking lot was inadequate you may have a claim against the landlord or owner of the parking lot for your fall for not only your medical bills but also for your pain and suffering and any loss of earnings. You should contact an experienced lawyer that handles personal injury cases to be advised on which route to take concerning your claim. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You might be able to claim damages for your injuries if you can prove the RR tie was not properly painted, or it was not well lit in the lot, or that it was not in the proper location. You should make an immediate claim with the property owner. If they maintain liability insurance it will likely have a med-pay provision that will cover your medical expenses up to the max provision in the policy (usually around $5,000) regardless of fault.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Michael J. Sgarlat Attorney at Law | Michael Joseph Sgarlat
    I think the property owner is liable for not warning you of the danger which existed .The owner has a special duty of care to an invitee (customer) like yourself. You will have to prove that the owner knew, or should have known of the potential hazard and he/she did not protect you or warn you of the impending danger.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/13/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    The owner of the parking lot.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    It is possible that the owner of the land would be responsible. There are many hoops to jump through in Michigan for a possible case and I would be glad to discuss with you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Should this go all the way to trial, a jury would decide how much of it was your fault and how much was the bar's fault. They would divide the medical bills accordingly. If the bar knew the tie was there, had prior complaints about it, the parking lot was poorly lit, etc then a jury would likely attribute some fault to the bar. If you were not watching where you were going, were drunk, etc then a jury would likely attribute some fault to you as well. Jury could decide to split the fault 100% the bar's fault and 0% your fault, or 0% the bar's fault and 100% your fault, or 50/50 or any other number. Depends on all the facts of the case. Let us know if you want to discuss the case further.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    The category of cases dealing with situations like that is called "premises liability". Of course, every case is different. Deciding whether, for example, the bar was negligent in the care and maintenance of their parking lot might require examining photographs of the actual scene of the injury as it was at the time of the incident. It can be a question of fact for a jury to decide. If you choose to press your claim, you have the burden of proving your defendant's negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Any lawsuits of that type must be commenced within three years of the date of injury.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    If you and your lawyer can persuade the bar's insurance adjuster or a judge or jury that the property owner was negligent in having the railroad tie there, then you win your medical bills and pain and suffering money. These cases are very fact specific.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle | Adam J. Teller
    An owner or operator of business premises may be liable for your injuries if they have created or maintained, or should have known but failed to warn you of, a defective or dangerous condition (such as poor lighting, misplaced materials and other trip hazards) that substantially contributed to causing your injury. Some businesses also have "medical payments" insurance which covers medical expenses for accidental injuries on their premises, even if the business was not at fault. There may be other entities who may have liability, or other theories of liability. The best advice is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible who can investigate the circumstances and liability involved. In the meantime or if you can't make that contact right away, you may want to immediately get good pictures of the area where you fell showing the object(s) involved before they are moved or disappear, and record the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw you fall or saw you at the scene. You should also save any medical records, bills, and emergency responder (police, fire, ambulance) information available.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    Assuming this fall occurred in Nebraska, one or more people/ entities may be responsible for your medical bills and other damages. This is a general overview and the responses may be different depending on the specific facts and circumstances, which are not contained in your question. Part of the answer as to who might be responsible depends on who owns the parking lot. That person/ entity may be responsible for the poor lighting conditions and/or permitting a railroad tie to be in the parking lot. If the parking lot was being leased, the owner and the entity renting might both be responsible. In addition, the person/ entity who put the railroad tie in the parking lot may be responsible. Generally, to prove fault for a fall on property you must prove: 1.That the defendant either put the railroad tie in the parking lot, knew of the railroad tie, or, by the exercise of reasonable care, would have discovered the railroad tie; 2.That the defendant should have realized that the railroad tie involved an unreasonable risk of harm to people in the parking lot; 3.That the defendant should have expected that people in the parking lot either: would not discover or realize the danger; or would file to protect themselves against the danger posed by the railroad tie; 4.That the defendant failed to use reasonable care to people walking in the parking lot against the railroad tie There is a lot of other information necessary to determine who might be fault, including, but not limited to: how long had the railroad tie been in the parking; was the owner of the parking lot aware of the railroad tie was in the parking lot; how large the railroad tie was. In addition, you would have to examine your own actions in determining whether you were 50% or more at fault. In Nebraska, to recover you must be less than 50% at fault for your fall. How much, if any, you drank would play a factor as would much attention you were paying as you were walking. The bar/ owner might have Medical Payments Coverage, which would pay, up to their limit, for your medical bills regardless of fault. However, there is no requirement that they carry this insurance. This answer is not a substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. You should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction before taking any action that may affect your rights. If you believe you have a claim against someone, you should consult an attorney immediately, otherwise there is a risk that the time allotted to bring your claim may expire.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    Answer: Before this question on legal responsibility can be answered more facts are needed. 1.Were you drunk? How much had you had to drink? 2. As the parking lot lit? If so, how much? 3. Did you know the railroad tie was there? 4. Have you been to this bar previously? If so, how many times and where did you park? 5. What type of shoes were you wearing and what is the surface condition of the parking lot? 6. Were there witnesses? Who are they and will they voluntarily provide a statement? 7. Why did you trip? What caused you to trip over the railroad tie? 8. Do you wear glasses? Did you have them on at the time you tripped and fell? 9. Why didn't you put your hands out to break your fall? 10. Were you in a hurry, rushing or not paying attention? 11. Were you talking on your cell phone or to someone with you? 12. At the time you tripped and fell were you fooling around? 13. Was there any sign warning of the railroad ties? 14. Did you need a warning about the railroad ties? 15. Does the bar have a BOP policy with medical pay coverage? 16. Do you have health insurance? 17. Do you carry a homeowner's policy with medical coverage? Answer these questions and a lawyer or fact finder will able to pin down the liability issue?
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    The owner of the parking lot may be responsible if the owner was negligent in a way that caused your injuries. If the lighting was poor or the hazard was not obvious, then the owner could be held responsible. However, if you were not permitted to be in the parking lot, or you were injured because of your own negligence, then you might not be able to recover your damages. So if there was a no trespassing sign, or if you had too much to drink, then you might lose your case. Figuring that out your case will require the assistance of a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Gloor Law Group LLC
    Gloor Law Group LLC | Phillip Ruben Nava
    Property owners have a duty to make the property safe for the invitee, which includes conducting a reasonable inspection of the premises to uncover hidden dangers. The property owner also has a duty to warn the invitee of any hazardous conditions. A business invitee is a person who is a member of the public allowed on the property of another for some business purpose. Here, assuming the railroad tie was in the parking lot that belonged to the business and you were a paying customer of the business that evening, you would be classified as a business invitee. The property owner would thus have a duty to keep the property safe and have a duty to warn its patrons of any dangerous conditions. A following question needs to be asked: was walking through the parking lot a normal activity for customers of the bar at night to get to their cars or walk home? Assuming the answer is yes and the above scenario accurate, a viable argument that the property owner is liable for the injury can be made. Another suggestion is that property owners that have public businesses (such has bars, restaurants and the like) often carry medical payments coverage on their policies up to certain limits which are available to patrons that obtain injuries on the premises. This is payable without regard to fault.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The parking lot could be. Need more facts, for example how dark is dark? Is the RR tie something tht , with reasonable exercise you should have seen even in the dark? PI attorneys generally give free consultations. See one with picture of the RR tie in both day and night.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Gilbert & Bourke, LLP | Brian J. Bourke
    The owner and/or occupant of the premises would be liable if the poor lighting would be considered a dangerous condition on the premises. They would be responsible for your medical bills, lost earnings and other general damages. You should consult with an attorney in your area as soon as possible to make sure your claim is properly presented and evidence preserved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Paris Blank LLP
    Paris Blank LLP | Irving M Blank
    There are many questions that need to be answered before you can determine if you have a case. When and how did the railroad tie get in the parking lot? Why didn't you see the railroad tie before you fell over it. Were there any lights in the parking lot and were they all working? All of these questions need to be answered in order to determine if you have a case.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    If the railroad tie was open and obvious in daylight, then you alone are responsible for your injuries and expenses.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    The Olawale Law Firm | Emmanuel Olawale
    If you were drunk and the railroad tie was open and obvious, then no one is responsible.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    It depends on whether the owner has a medical pay provision in its insurance policy - these provisions pay a certain about of money regardless of whether it is negligent. Do you have your own insurance? Was the railroad tie permanently affixed or loose? Did you take photos? I
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    No one is responsible for your medical bills unless you can show that they were negligent under the prescription of the law. A lawsuit or claim must be brought against the appropriate defendant and you must prove your loss.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    The parking lot owner of the parking lot or business that used the parking lot may be responsible for your injuries if you can prove that they were negligent. In a case like yours it sounds like you would have an argument based on the fact that the parking lot was dark. I think that you should contact an injury attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case. The sooner you do that the better off you are. The attorney is going to want to have an investigator go to area of the fall to document what you tripped over and the lack of lighting
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    You may have a premises liability claim against the owner of the property for failure to warn of a defect on the property, failure to maintain it in a safe condition (lighting and railroad tie). How much you had to drink will become an issue and may reduce your damage award. You should retain a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You should also begin to keep a dated journal of how this injury and the healing process affects you on a day-to-day basis.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 12/12/2011
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
    Well that depends upon why you fell. If the business has a medical payment (med-pay) provision in their insurance policy you may have some coverage for your medical bills, regardless of why the fall took place.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 12/12/2011
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