How to Deal with Car Accidents on Private Property
When a motor vehicle accident happens on the road or the highway, we all know we need to call the police, call an ambulance and exchange insurance information among other details with the other driver. But not so many of us know how to go about an accident that occurs while on private property –like in the parking lot of an apartment complex or neighbor’s fence by the roadside and so on. But surprisingly, a large number of car accidents happen in private properties.
There is a range of aspects to consider when it comes to car accidents on private property. Knowing how to establish responsibility helps you file a successful lawsuit and recover any losses.
Dealing with a car accidents on private property
Accidents that happen on private property and accidents that occur on roads, highways, and streets are similar in several ways. For instance, irrespective of where the accident occurs, the main concern should always be your personal safety and the safety of those around you. You’ll also need to inform the law enforcement, hospital (in case there’s injury) and the insurance company. Most importantly, you should never leave the scene of the accident without exchanging personal and insurance information with the other driver.
But accidents on private properties can also vary from road accidents in a range of ways. Knowing these differences can help you address the situation appropriately.
The main legal principle governing liability in car accidents is negligence, which presumes that every driver is cautious and adheres to the traffic laws. If the driver isn’t careful or breaks a traffic law, they are said to be negligent.
In Texas, lawyers and insurance companies use a comparative fault system to determine financial recovery in personal injury claims. Meaning, they will access the evidence from the scene to establish, based on facts, who was most liable for the accident. If you are involved in a crash on private property, it’s essential not to admit or deny fault. In fact, you should keep your cool and only exchange details like your name, insurance information, license information and any other thing that’s needed by medical professionals or law enforcement.
You can also take photos of the scene including the environment, weather, and any other important detail to help build your case. Don’t forget to talk to witnesses (if any) who will give an account of what transpired.
The obligation of the private property owner
There are times when the other driver isn’t the only party at-fault – third parties like the premise owner or manager could be responsible for the damages or injuries occurring in their property. Premises liability law makes property owners accountable for some kinds of injuries sustained by persons on the premise. For instance, if the parking lot is poorly designed in a manner that poses a great risk of accidents or if there is a range of hazardous conditions like uneven pavement, unmarked construction, standing water and so on, then the owner or manager could be held responsible for resulting injuries or damages.
Calling a lawyer
Instead of second-guessing about who is at fault and who isn’t, it’s best to have a lawyer by your side to defend your rights. Accidents on private property can be a hard nut to crack, especially when there are multiple causative factors.