When vehicle accidents happen on the open road there are well-known procedures to follow:
- call the police to report the accident,
- exchange insurance information and
- document the accident scene
However, what about when an accident happens on private property? Who is liable, especially if the property itself had something to do with the accident?
So, even though the accident has happened on private property it is still necessary to contact the police. Some law enforcement officers aren’t eager to participate in creating a report when it comes to accidents on private property. This is because they generally do not have jurisdiction to issue citations or determining liability. They can, however, document the same and provide a much-needed police report of the incident. Most insurance companies are unwilling to pay a claim, even if it occurred on private property, without a police report. In addition, it is necessary to contact the owner of the property and alert them to the accident.
What to do in Private Property Accidents
As with any accident it is important to determine who is responsible for it. When an accident happens on a private property it is possible that the property owner may share some liability. And there is a personal injury claim if negligence caused the accident. For example, if an accident happens in a parking garage because of the way it was built. It could be that it creates blind spots or overly narrow lanes around corners. This could lead to the liability on the part of the owner of the garage. Because of this factor many property owners will quickly become involved in any dispute arising resulting in an accident.
When the owner becomes involved it could be helpful in some cases. Especially if the owner feels that they have some liability for the accident and is willing to provide assistance. Assistance may come through:
- security footage,
- incident reports or
- other necessary details e.g. structural plans
Conversely, if the property owner assumes a defensive position they may withhold any efforts to obtain information. Or they may quickly resolve the dispute out of fear of having to contribute to any settlement.