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Forensic Engineering Experts: Parking Lots & Garages

By: Dr. Irving Ojalvo

Tel: (800) 358-9909
Fax: (888) 358-9901
Email: Technology Associates

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Technology AssociatesParking lots are the scene of many pedestrian accidents because of the close proximity of people and cars and the confusing traffic patterns that sometimes exist. In addition to pedestrian-vehicle collisions, many trip and fall accidents occur in parking lots as well. These can be caused by the presence of low parking bumpers, poor lighting or a person's inattentiveness. In most instances, when a serious accident occurs, the design and maintenance of the parking lot must be considered to determine if it was deficient and contributed to the accident. These investigations typically consider parking stall layout, crosswalks, wheel stops, travel arrows, signs and sight issues.

Expertise

We have experience in many aspects of parking lot and garage accidents including:

  • Lighting measurements
  • Parking lot design layout
  • Tripping hazard identification
  • Line of sight and visibility analyses
  • Adequacy of signage
  • Reference library on parking lot safety

Questions Answered

Through scientific analysis, we can help you answer pertinent questions such as:

  • Was the lighting in the parking lot adequate?
  • Were there dangerous tripping hazards present?
  • Were the parking stalls designed in accordance with safe practices?

Case Examples

Child Struck by Car in Parking Field:

After a soccer game, a boy and his father were walking through an unpaved parking field towards their car when a vehicle backing out ran over the boy causing serious injuries. There were no parking stall markings and cars were parked randomly. Thus, traffic entering and leaving could approach from many directions. In addition, there was no artificial lighting and no one was supervising traffic flow. Based upon the minimally designed parking lot, we showed how the accident could easily occur.

Wheel Stop Trip & Fall:

A woman tripped on a wheel stop in a parking stall as she left her car, and was injured. Plaintiff's expert claimed that the use of wheel stops was hazardous in that they presented a tripping hazard. We reconstructed the accident and showed that the visibility that day was adequate for a reasonably cautious person to see and avoid the wheel stop and that, wheel stops were a reasonable method of preventing cars from intruding upon the nearby sidewalk. The jury found for the defense.


Dr. Irving Ojalvo was, at the time of this article's publication, the Chairman of Technology Associates (www.technology-assoc.com), a forensic engineering firm with offices in New York City and Connecticut. The firm's technical personnel, all of whom have advanced degrees, perform accident reconstruction involving issues of biomechanics, mechanical, traffic, and human factors engineering.

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