Car accident cases become complex when they occur on private property. Who is responsible for the accident? And who covers the costs of injuries and damages if you’re not at fault? Let’s discuss all this and more in this article.
What Constitutes Private Property?
Private property includes places such as private residences, businesses, parking lots, and other areas that are not public roadways. Different rules and considerations come into play when an accident occurs on private property.
Most Common Cases of Private Property Car Accidents
Car accidents on private property manifest in diverse settings, each with its distinct challenges and factors. Understanding the most common scenarios in which these accidents happen can help you stay vigilant and take appropriate precautions. Here are some of the most frequent cases of private property car accidents:
Parking Lot Collisions
Parking lots are hotspots for car accidents on private property. They are often congested with vehicles moving in various directions, pedestrians walking between cars and limited visibility. Collisions can happen when drivers neglect to give way, ignore stop signs, or engage in reckless behavior like speeding.
Private Driveway Accidents
Private driveways, whether residential or commercial, can become accident sites when vehicles back out onto the street or sidewalk without proper visibility. These accidents often involve pedestrians, especially in residential areas.
Business Premises Accidents
Accidents can happen on the premises of businesses such as shopping centers, gas stations, or restaurants. These may involve vehicles colliding in parking lots or even accidents caused by drivers pulling in or out of these establishments.
Private Roads and Residential Areas
Car accidents can transpire on private roads, especially within gated communities or residential areas. That’s often due to drivers’ familiarity with the area, leading to overconfidence. Speeding, failure to yield, or distracted driving can contribute to these accidents.
Events and Gatherings
Private property car accidents can occur during events, gatherings, or parties hosted on someone’s property. Often, these incidents are linked to driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Shopping Carts and Cart Returns
Accidents involving shopping carts can manifest in parking zones and their adjacent areas. Drivers might bump into unattended shopping carts or pedestrians pushing them.
Loading and Unloading Zones
Accidents can happen in loading and unloading zones outside businesses or delivery points. Commercial vehicles and passenger cars may collide or pose hazards to pedestrians in these areas.
Determining liability for a car accident on private property can be complex. Liability may depend on various factors, including the actions of both drivers, the property owner’s responsibilities, and the presence of any hazardous conditions leading to the accident.
Nevada follows a traditional fault-based or “tort” system for auto insurance. In a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance typically covers their medical bills and related expenses from an accident, irrespective of the party at fault. In contrast, in a fault-based system like Nevada, the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for covering the damages and injuries inflicted on the other involved party.
Private Property Owners and Liability
Property owners may have some responsibility for accidents that occur on their premises. For instance, if the accident happened in a private parking lot, the owner may be liable if the accident was caused by a dangerous condition, such as poorly maintained pavement or inadequate signage. However, typically, property owners aren’t held responsible for accidents that occur solely due to the drivers’ actions, such as a collision due to a driver running a stop sign.
Handling Insurance Claims
Insurance coverage for accidents on private property can vary. In some cases, the property owner’s insurance may come into play. If you were injured, your medical payments coverage may also be relevant. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you navigate these complex insurance claims and determine the best course of action to seek compensation.
When the Other Party Is at Fault
If the accident was clearly the other driver’s fault, you can still seek compensation for your injuries and property damage. Your attorney can help you navigate the legal process and negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company.
When Liability Is Unclear
In cases where liability is unclear, your attorney can help gather evidence and build a case on your behalf. They may work with accident reconstruction experts to determine the exact cause of the accident.
Immediate Steps to Take After a Car Accident on Private Property
If you’ve been in a car accident on private property, here are the steps to consider:
Ensure Safety: First and foremost, ensure the safety of all parties involved. If feasible, relocate your vehicles away from traffic lanes, ensuring everyone is secure and away from imminent threats.
Seek Medical Attention: Don’t take your accident lightly and seek immediate medical attention even when everything seems fine. Doing so helps promptly identify and treat any hidden injuries while creating a record of your accident.
Call the Police: Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to call the police to file an incident report. In some cases, private property owners may also request police presence to help document the situation. However, the police not come because the event occurred on private property.
Exchange Information: Just like in accidents on public roads, exchange information with any other drivers or parties involved. Gather their contact information, insurance details, and any relevant license information.
Document the Scene: If it’s safe to do so, take images of the accident scene, including vehicles involved, property damages, and relevant road conditions or signage. Documenting the scene can be critical in determining liability. Take more videos and photos than you think you need.
Contact Your Insurance Company: Without delay, contact your insurance company to report the accident. Provide them with all the information you’ve gathered that can help in your compensation if necessary.
Contact a Reliable Attorney: Contact an attorney to safeguard your legal rights and provide them with all the gathered evidence. They can help in determining liability, which could further help in seeking compensation. If your case goes to trial, your attorney can help you prepare for it.
Contact BLG’s Car Accident Attorneys for Comprehensive Legal Help
Accidents on private property can be complicated, but knowing how to handle them can help protect your rights and seek compensation if you’ve been injured. Whether you’re dealing with a private parking lot accident or a collision in a business premises, the steps you take immediately after can help strengthen your case. If you have any doubts or questions, consult with an experienced attorney to ensure you receive the legal guidance and support you need.
Schedule a free consultation call today to discuss your case with us!
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