If an accident occurs on the road, most people have a general idea of what to do. You have to call the authorities, exchange information, take a few pictures, and get medical attention.
But what happens if you have an accident on private property? If you’re involved in a car accident on private property, the standard rules and regulations that apply to other car accidents might not apply to your case.
In the article below, we will discuss the best way to handle a car accident on private property.
Causes of Car Accidents on Private Property
There are several ways a car accident can occur on private property.
Some things that can cause a wreck on privately owned property are:
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is the main factor in many kinds of car accidents. Whether you are adjusting the radio, eating, or looking at your cellphone, taking your attention off the road can easily cause a collision.
- Careless Driving: Maybe you stop suddenly to make a turn without signaling, or you don’t check your mirrors before switching lanes. Driving carelessly causes many accidents.
- Impaired Driving: This is the most easily avoidable type of crash, but still, many people drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, causing countless accidents.
- Tailgating: We’ve all been running late or in a hurry, but tailgating doesn’t make you go any faster. Avoid tailgating so you can avoid accidents.
- Unsafe Surfaces: From ice to potholes, there are many things on the roads that can cause car accidents.
- Lack of signage: In a parking lot, for example, there may not be any stop signs or right of way signs, leading to confusion and car accidents.
These are just a few ways an car accident occurs on private property. No matter where you’re driving, you should be alert and aware of your surroundings to avoid accidents.
Should You Call the Police?
If you’re involved in a car accident on a public roadway, the first thing you should always do is call the first responders. You will need the accident report if the accident was caused by someone else, and in some states, it is the law to call the authorities after an accident.
That police report could be the difference between you being compensated for your injuries or being stuck with an enormous medical bill. When a wreck occurs on private property, the police don’t have jurisdiction to do a police report because it isn’t a public roadway.
The best they can do is an incident report, but many times these are done by security guards or another employee of the establishment. An incident report is a simplified version of a police report, and it is always better than nothing when you have to prove fault.
Who is Responsible?
When you’re involved in an accident on a public road, the state typically isn’t liable, even if road conditions were a factor in the accident. But in accidents on private property, the property owner may be held responsible as well as an involved party.
Let’s say you’re involved in a parking lot accident, and your accident is caused by a blind spot or a narrow corner. If that’s the case, some of the liability for the accident could fall to the owner of the parking garage.
That’s why it is very common for property owners to get involved in disputes between the parties involved in the accident. This can be helpful, especially if the property owner feels like they could be held liable and is willing to assist. They may be able to provide you with security footage, an incident report, and any other details that may prove to be helpful.
Sometimes, though, the property owners can get defensive and refuse to assist in resolving the dispute because they’re afraid that they will have to contribute to the settlement.
Often, when a car wreck occurs in a parking lot, the responsible party leaves the scene. When this happens, the property owner may have some liability on a premises liability policy through insurance.
So even though the property owner had very little to do with the accident, they could still end up liable for merely owning the property where the crash occurred.
What Should You Do After an Accident on Private Property?
There is a lot of conflicting advice about what to do after a car wreck on private property.
The first thing you should do is contact the police to see if they can at least give you an incident report, and if they can’t, try to get one from the property owner or someone who works at the property.
If you’ve suffered serious injuries, you need to seek medical attention right away. If you fail to receive medical care soon after the crash, typically within three days, you could be limited in the amount of compensation you can recover for your injuries. And the longer you wait to treat your injuries, the worse they will get.
After you’ve seen a doctor, you should contact an attorney, even before you speak to your insurance company.
Your insurance provider will try to pay you the smallest amount possible to limit their losses, so you need an experienced attorney to make sure you get what you deserve.
Personal injury attorneys deal with insurance companies every day. They will make sure you avoid any situations that will get you less than what you deserve in your settlement.