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Four essential ways to improve parking lot safety

Many business owners in Colorado may not know that parking lot safety is their responsibility, but it is. If they only maintain a safe indoor environment, they may be held liable for accidents that occur outside. This can mean workers' compensation claims from employees, premises liability claims from customers, lost productivity and a lowering of morale among the rest of the workforce.

There are four essential steps that employers need to take to keep everyone safe in the parking lot. First of all, parking lots and garages see about 50,000 car crashes every year, according to the National Safety Council. To prevent crashes, employers should install appropriate signage, directional arrows and striping to direct traffic flow. Parking spaces, crosswalks and emergency vehicle lanes should be clearly marked.

Second, owners must have lighting both behind their building and before the entrance. Wherever they keep the dumpster and recycling receptacle, this area must be especially well-lit. Burnt-out lights should be promptly replaced, and all lighting should be clear of trees and other obstructions.

To prevent trips and falls, employers should inspect the parking lot for potholes and cracks. In inclement weather, the pavement can become icy and slick, so owners must have a plan in place to de-ice and remove snow.

As for those who are injured in a parking lot, they may have a case under premises liability law. They will need to prove, though, that their injuries were the direct or indirect result of the property owner's negligence. Victims must also show that they themselves were using the property in a reasonable manner. Since filing a claim can be a stressful and complicated procedure, victims may want legal representation, especially for the negotiations. If a settlement cannot be achieved, the lawyer might prepare for litigation.

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