Public property and private property are two very different things. When a person is driving on the interstate or roadway and an accident occurs, it’s an accident that is on public property. But when an accident occurs on private property, this is an accident that occurred in:
- A parking lot
- An apartment complex
- Or similar
Since the accident occurred on private property, you’ll need to contact:
- Insurance company
- Property owner
Police will respond to most accidents on private property if it’s a shopping mall or parking lot, but they may not come out to an accident on a person’s private property. Why? Because if there are no serious injuries or public safety concerns, the police may not have the resources to come to the scene.
Let’s say that you’re driving to pick up an Uber client, and when you pull into the driveway, you hit their parked vehicle. The police may decide, since there’s no concern for public safety or any serious injuries, that there’s no reason to be dispatched.
What does this mean?
There is no police report filed. And when there is no police report, determining liability or the facts behind the case can be very difficult.
Contacting Property Owners
Contacting the property owner is important, and it’s not a step that should be ignored. When a property owner is contacted, this is so that there can be an incident report made. Perhaps an apartment complex has a security guard that can write the report.
Information of witnesses or potential video recordings may also exist.
All of this information can be used to prove who was at-fault for the accident. The issue will be proving liability since the incident occurred on private property. A lack of a police report is another issue – it’s a “he said, she said” scenario.
“Typically, both law enforcement and the insurance companies involved will play a role in determining who is responsible in a car accident case. But in a private property accident case, the police may not be involved,” explains Ankin Law Office LLC.
Private property owners may be held liable for the accident in the event that hazardous property led to the damage.
If, for example, the property was a parking lot with an intersection lacking proper signage. The drivers may not know to stop, causing an accident. In this event, the company that manages the parking lot or the owners of the property may be held liable.
Security footage may be used in these cases to help determine responsibility.
Drivers should not assume guilt, and that’s why it’s important to exchange information and all of the evidence needed to prove a case. The goal is to determine true liability, and this may be that you, the driver, was at fault.
Immediate medical attention should be sought if injuries occur.
Documentation when the accident occurred should also be taken, including:
- Photos of the incident
- Video of the incident
Take down the information of any witnesses, too. If there are no injuries or damage, it may end with both parties leaving the scene, and no insurance reports being made in the best-case scenario.