Parking Lots – A Haven for Hazards

On the surface it seems so simple and benign.  Park your car and walk to your nearby destination.  The numbers say otherwise.  The National Safety Council found that on average at least 60,000 are injured and 500 or more die in the 50,000 plus crashes in parking lots and garages every year.  And that’s just the incidents involving cars!  When you factor in the number of slips, trips and falls that occur in parking lots, the numbers increase, but the risk of injury can be drastically reduced with the proper design, construction and maintenance.

When a mishap occurs in a parking lot, a forensic engineer is often brought in to investigate what happened, who might be at fault, and to determine whether the accident could have been avoided.

Here are some examples of parking lot accident types with corresponding forensic engineers and the potential issues involved.

Motor Vehicle Accidents and Pedestrian Strikes – As you’d expect, an accident reconstructionist is necessary, but because of the distinctiveness of the parking lot environment some other disciplines and specialties may come in to play.  Factors to consider might include:

 

  • Lighting
  • Parking lot layout
  • Maintenance
  • Visibility
  • Building codes
  • ASTM standards
  • Signage and pavement marking
  • Accessibility guidelines
  • Life Safety Code
  • Driving and parking lane markings
  • Speed bumps and parking stops
  • Motor vehicle driver actions

 

The need for a conspicuity and/or human factors expert may be critical, as could the need for a civil engineer familiar with road design, construction and maintenance.

Slips, Trips & Falls – A forensic engineer is often essential to determine the cause of the accident and whether it could have been avoided.  They will investigate:

 

  • Lighting
  • Walking surface condition
  • Curbs and curb cutouts
  • Signage
  • Paint (color, reflectiveness, slip resistance)
  • Weather conditions
  • Leaks and spills of vehicle fluids
  • Speed bumps and parking stops
  • Water drainage
  • Markings for steps, ramps, or other walking surface elements

 

 

CED Technologies has mechanical engineers, civil engineers and human factors experts who have investigated parking lot accidents all over the country. If you have a case involving a parking lot, call us at 1-800-780-4221 or contact us here.