Parking Lot Wheel Stop Cases
Coral Springs, Florida: If you’ve ever taken a few moments to stop
and look around at a parking lot, you’ve likely noticed the horizontal
pieces of concrete frequently located at the front of parking spaces.
These are usually referred to as wheel stops (or sometimes referred to
as a car bumper, car stop, parking stop, parking block, or parking curb).
The purpose of these wheel stops is pretty clear: to serve as a signal
that a driver’s forward motion should be immediately stopped. If
your front wheels strike the wheel stop, you know it’s time to hit
Although you probably see wheel stops in most parking lots and garages
you go to, wheel stops can actually pose a serious tripping hazard for
pedestrians. Each year thousands, of people trip and fall and suffer injuries
as a result of these wheel stops.
Wheel Stops Can Pose a Significant Hazard to Pedestrians
Wheel stop cases can be complicated, which is one of the many reasons why
you want an experienced attorney representing you. Our Broward County
parking lot wheel stop attorneys have decades of experience handling cases
where persons have been injured after tripping and falling over wheel
stops throughout Florida.
Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters tend to argue that the wheel
stops were open and obvious dangers. The open and obvious danger doctrine
in Florida states that when a dangerous condition is known or obvious
to the injured party, then the owner or person in charge of the premises
is not liable for injuries unless the owner or person in charge should
have anticipated the harm despite the obviousness of the danger. Basically,
the defense attorneys and adjusters will say that you should have noticed
the wheel stop before you tripped and fell, and as a result their client
isn’t liable for your injuries.
Nonetheless, property owners and those in possession of the property are
still responsible for maintaining their parking lots in a reasonably safe
condition. That includes ensuring that there are no tripping hazards on
the premises which the owner or possessor should have anticipated would
cause injury despite the fact that the condition was open and obvious.
In short, it’s the duty of these property owners and possessors
to ensure that wheel stops do not pose an unreasonable danger in their
Notwithstanding the seemingly ever-present nature of wheel stops in parking
lots, it’s actually fairly easy to see how a wheel stop can pose
a serious tripping hazard for a pedestrian. For example, unpainted wheel
stops that are the same color as the ground can create the optical illusion
of a level surface. This is especially true for pedestrians with less
than perfect visual acuity and diminished physical abilities, such as
Other ways that wheel stops can pose a dangerous condition include:
- When wheel stops are placed too close to the painted lines dividing parking
spaces, or even over the line, they might pose an increased trip and fall
risk. This is because generally a person would not anticipate a wheel
stop being placed so close to the painted lines.
- If two wheel stops are placed too close to one another, the pathway for
pedestrians to walk between them can be too narrow, creating an increased
risk for tripping over them.
- Another dangerous condition may arise when a wheel stop is placed in a
pedestrian pathway, in a place where a person would not expect to find
such a wheel stop. In such an instance, a pedestrian may trip and fall
because they never noticed the wheel stop and would have never even thought
to look out for one.
- If there isn’t adequate lighting to illuminate the wheel stop, pedestrians
will often be unable to discern between the wheel stop and the ground,
resulting in a serious tripping hazard.
- The wheel stop may be in bad condition and have protruding from the top
a metal wire, usually a piece of rebar (also known as an anchor bar or
anchor pin), which is supposed to hold the wheel stop in place on the
ground but often becomes dislodged and hazardous.
These are just a few of the many ways that wheel stops can pose an unreasonable
tripping hazard in parking areas. If you’ve been injured after falling
over a wheel stop anywhere in Florida, contact our parking lot wheel stop
lawyers in Broward County to learn more information.
Violation of Building Codes and Industry Standards can Support a Negligence Case
Sometimes, the presence of wheel stops can constitute a violation of the
Florida Building Code and Florida Fire Prevention Code. Under Florida
law, violation of the Florida Building Code is prima facie evidence of
negligence. When wheel stops are placed within the means of egress of
the premises, they may run afoul of the Florida Building Code and Florida
Fire Prevention Code provisions regulating the presence of obstructions
and changes of elevation within means of egress. Similarly, local county
and city building codes may regulate the manner in which wheel stops can
be used in parking lots.
Under Florida law, a breach of industry standards is evidence of negligence.
ASTM International is an organization that that develops and publishes
technical industry standards and recommendations for all sorts of products
and services. One of these industry standards is ASTM Standard F1637,
which is the Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces.
According to ASTM F1637:
- The use of wheel stops in parking lots should be avoided and instead bollards
at least 3 feet high [bollards are those vertical poles or posts that
are a couple feet tall which you see in some parking lots] should be used
- Wheel stops should not be located in foreseeable pedestrian paths
- Adequate lighting should be maintained at wheel stops
- Wheel stops should be centered within the parking space
- Wheel stops should be no longer than 6 feet wide
- When wheel stops are placed next to one another, there should be at least
3 feet between each one
- Wheel stops should be a color that is in contrast with their surroundings
Other organizations besides the ASTM International have provided guidance
on the use of wheel stops, as well. The Institute of Transportation Engineers
(ITE) Traffic Engineering Handbook has a number of similar suggestions,
including that wheel stops should not be used in pedestrian paths, that
there should be adequate lighting to enable persons to distinguish the
wheel stops from the surface, and that bollards are preferable to wheel stops.
As you can see from the list above, there are a number of precautions property
owners and possessors should take to ensure that wheel stops in their
parking lots don’t pose an unnecessary risk. Despite this clear
guidance, we still see numerous instances where parking lots contain wheel
stops that aren’t in compliance with building codes or industry
At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., our attorneys have been battling
insurance companies and defense attorneys in trip and fall cases for more
than three decades.
Our Broward County parking lot wheel stop lawyers are available to discuss
your case over the phone, and if we take your case we can
e-mail you documents so you do not have to worry about leaving your home during
these difficult times.
If you’ve tripped or fallen and suffered physical injury as a result
of a wheel stop or any other dangerous condition such as a pothole, uneven
pavement, poor lighting, or debris in a parking lot or parking garage
anywhere in Florida, contact our office now at
(954) 833-1440 for a free consultation.