Is a store liable for my accident in their parking lot?

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Is a store liable for my accident in their parking lot?

I was at a drive-thru of a national hamburger chain. It has 4 vertical barriers – 2 are on the grass by the board and 2 are on the actual driving lane near the board. These barriers are about 2 feet high and invisible to you in a car when ordering. I struck them in my car doing damage to the side wheel well and bumper. There is no warning sign about these hazards in the road or on the menu board. By the looks of the barriers in the road they have been hit very often. Who is at fault?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is *possible* the store is liable if the design, construction, placement, etc. of  the barriers was negligent, or unreasonably careless, but that is not likely. Even if you had difficulty seeing them while ordering, two-foot high barriers are not a hidden hazard; therefore, it is likely that you would be considered to have been negligent in hitting them. That said, it may be worthwhile seeing if the store will voluntarily compensate you, or even, if they don't, suing in small claims court where you can represent yourselrf (no lawyer fees). It is very unlikely to be worthwhile to pay an attorney to represent you on what is probably a weak case.


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