Accidents that occur in a parking lot may require a legal action to recover. Compensation could include medical expenses and loss of wages. In some cases, a court may also award punitive damages to penalize a company for failing to protect its patrons. 

Filing a personal injury lawsuit generally requires proof that a business did not take action to prevent or warn of the possibility of an accident. A plaintiff may need to show pictures that a dangerous condition existed, such as ice or hazardous waste on the ground. 

Store owners owe a duty of care to ensure customers are safe 

Retail stores maintain the responsibility of ensuring that customers and visitors are free from danger while on their premises. This can apply to hazardous objects left inside or outside a store or it can include wet or ill-kept floors that could cause a slip-and-fall accident. When not meeting this duty of care, a company may face liability for any resulting injuries. 

Hypodermic needle in parking lot results in $4.5 million jury award 

A child picked up a discarded hypodermic needle lying on the ground in a parking lot at one of the nation’s largest big-box retailers. Holding it in her hand, she asked her mother about it. Recognizing what the object was, the mother swatted it away, which caused the syringe to puncture the skin on her hand. 

The shopper reported the incident to a store manager and then went to a hospital for treatment. She required repeated monitoring and testing to ensure she did not contract a communicable disease from the needle puncture. After incurring medical expenses and a loss of income, she filed a legal action against the retailer. 

In its defense, the retailer claimed it cleaned the parking lot twice a week. Photographs introduced to the court, however, showed the area surrounding the plaintiff’s vehicle littered with trash and debris. The evidence proved carelessness in allowing the parking lot to become dirty enough to cause an unsafe environment. 

The jury found the company negligent and awarded $4.5 million in punitive damages as a penalty for its recklessness, according to The Post and Courier.