Court Determines Parking Lot Placed Across Dangerous Street May Give Rise to Landowner Liability

Businesses and other property owners owe a duty to those whom they invite onto their premises to keep and maintain a safe property. The level of care owed to a visitor depends in part on the relationship between the landowner and the guest. For example, a customer of a business is owed a more substantial duty than an unknown trespasser.

This duty is in place irrespective of the type of property, meaning that private property owners owe a duty, just as does the government, and so do non-profit organizations. In a recent case in front of a California appellate court, the court had an opportunity to discuss how far liability can extend in premises liability cases alleging that the landowner was negligent in the placement of a parking lot.

Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church:  The Facts

Grace Family Church was located on a busy five-lane highway. Since the church’s parking lot would often fill up, the church arranged to use another parking lot across the highway when the primary lot filled. While parking attendants were present in both lots to direct traffic, there was no one available to assist churchgoers in crossing the busy five-lane highway to get back to the church from the parking lot.

On the day in question, Vasilenko drove into the church’s main parking lot. Since it was full when he arrived, he was directed across the street to the second parking lot. After being directed to a spot, he was left on his own to cross the street back to the church. As he was doing so, he was struck by a passing car. He then filed a premises liability lawsuit against the church, arguing that the placement of the lot across a dangerous street with no assistance to cross the street was negligent.

The court hearing the case agreed that there was a duty present in this case. The court noted that, under normal circumstances, there is not a duty for a landowner to protect visitors from hazards occurring off his property. However, in situations like this one, in which the landowner places a parking lot across a known dangerous highway, a duty arises to provide some assistance in crossing the street to get to the church.

Have You Been Injured on or Near the Land of Another Party?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured on or near the land of another party in Virginia, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the landowner’s violation of a duty he owed you. To learn more about Virginia personal injury and wrongful death cases, and to speak with a dedicated attorney about your case, call The Schupak Law Firm to set up a free consultation. Attorney Sidney Schupak and his colleagues have decades of experience representing injured Virginians in all kinds of premises liability cases. Call 703-491-7070 today to set up your free consultation.

See More Blog Posts:

Court Declines to Extend Government Liability in Fatal Motorcycle Accident Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, July 13, 2016.

State Supreme Court Orders New Trial in Slip and Fall Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, June 29, 2016.

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