When a person is seriously injured in a Washington car accident, it is important to identify all potential avenues of recovery to help fully compensate the victim for their loss. When an accident occurs in a parking lot or other private property, the property owner or business proprietor may have some liability for the accident, depending upon the facts of the case.
In a recent case, a person injured in a parking lot sued the owner of the store she was intending to enter. The woman was seriously injured when a vehicle hit her while she was using a crosswalk to go to the entrance of a store. The vehicle that hit her had to reverse into the crosswalk from the diagonal parking spot where it was parked to go north out of the parking lot. The woman and her husband sued the driver and the owner of the shopping center. They later added additional defendants, including the owner of the store.
The trial court found the store owner did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs and granted summary judgment to the store owner. The plaintiffs appealed and argued the store owed a duty of reasonable care because it was in control of the parking lot. The store owner argued the property owner kept sole control over the common areas under the lease. The appeals court found the property owner was the possessor of the common areas and had responsibility for maintaining them under the lease. The appeals court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument the store owner was liable as a possessor of the common area.