If you have been in a car accident, you are probably overwhelmed by the incident, not knowing how to proceed and what needs to be done first. Yet, things get even more complicated when the accident takes place on private property. In that case, you may also be wondering whether the property owner bears some responsibility for the accident. If this has happened to you, car accident lawyer Pendergrass wants you to know that there are many factors to consider when the car wreck takes place on private property. It is important for you to understand how to determine liability to file a successful claim and recover your losses.
Who is negligent in car accidents on private property?
Identifying negligence on the part of a driver involved in the collision is the first step. This is the same as if the accident had happened on a public road. Negligence in car accident cases is defined as the failure of one or more persons to exercise the proper care in their actions, resulting in injuries to another party.
Negligence is based on how a reasonable person would have behaved under similar circumstances. In car accident cases, that might mean looking both ways before crossing a street, using a turn signal, following marked speed limit signs, and others.
Determining liability for a car accident on private property can be difficult because you may not know what you are looking for. Understanding and identifying negligence is essential when it comes to protecting yourself. This way, you can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and can focus on recovering your health.
Accidents on Private vs Public Property
When a car crash takes place on any public street, the state or municipality may be held liable. However, when an accident occurs on private property, the property owner may share some liability. Factors that may indicate a property owner’s liability in a car accident could include poor visibility, lack of signage, and other problems that might contribute to the accident.
On private properties, you may find that the owner has a security camera that has captured video of the incident. This will help the drivers and their insurance companies determine who is at fault.
Another type of private property where accidents may take place is in parking lots. When accidents take place in parking lots, both parties may refuse to acknowledge fault. If this happens, the best course of action is simply to exchange information with the other driver and pass it on to the insurance provider, letting them reach their conclusions. You may help by gathering any evidence at the scene to support your claim and allow your insurance company to determine that you are not at fault.
How do you report an accident that took place on private property?
Let Your Insurance Company Know
As soon as possible after the accident, contact your insurance provider and let them know what happened. After that, get a full medical checkup to see if you have any injuries. Some injuries may not be immediately obvious, while others may take days to manifest. Having all that information on your medical records will be helpful should you decide to file a claim against the other party, the property owner, or both.
Reporting the incident as soon as it happens always works in your favor when it comes to receiving the compensation you seek for your injuries.
Call the Police
It is always recommended that you call the police even if the incident occurred on private property. Some law enforcement officers may not be too eager to create a report for an incident on private property since they normally would not have jurisdiction to issue citations or determine fault under those circumstances.
When police officers do not issue a ticket to drivers involved in accidents on private properties, it may make it much more difficult to prove negligence, but they may be willing to create a report in which they document the scene. A police report may work in your favor since many insurance companies are reluctant to pay out a claim without a police report.
Contact the Property Owner
The property owner may not have been present when the crash took place. If so, you should reach out to them and alert them to the accident as soon as possible. Security may be assigned to patrol the area where the crash occurred. Flag them down and let them assess the situation. They may also create an incident report for you. Ask for a copy to send to your insurance provider.
Common Injuries in Accidents on Private Property
Although accidents on private property, such as a parking lot, garage, or private cul-de-sac, tend to happen at slower speeds, injuries are still possible. Never assume that only high-speed accidents can injure people, slow-speed ones can still result in costly and serious injuries. Some of the most common ones are:
- Soft tissue injuries
Immediately after the accident, you may feel sore or disoriented. Do not discount any symptoms as irrelevant since they may be signaling something else. Get a healthcare professional to look you over and verify that there are no internal injuries.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
There is no difference between the pain and suffering you may experience in an accident that takes place on a private road and that of an accident on a public one. Having sound legal advice can help you make the right decisions and protect your right to receive compensation to cover your injuries and other losses.
Working with a car accident attorney means you will have someone working to defend your rights by:
- Investigating the circumstances of the accident on the private property and analyzing the special rules of conduct that may have applied. The property owner may have marked the speed limit within their property as 15 mph while a similar public road may be 35 mph.
- Evaluating the availability of insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
- Explaining the legal options open to you and answering any questions or concerns about who may owe you compensation for your injuries.
- Preparing and filing any lawsuits and insurance claims.
- Negotiating fair settlements to resolve your claims.
- When necessary, going to trial to prove your accident claim to a judge and jury.
- Collecting compensation via a settlement, judgment, or jury award.
There is never a guarantee of the outcome of a car accident claim, regardless of where it takes place. However, you want the best chance of securing compensation against the property owner or any other party who may be at fault for the accident.