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Car Accident on Private PropertyMost people do not realize that a significant number of car accidents happen on private property, until they themselves are involved in one. But it's true. Private property does not only mean a small parking area in front of a 7-eleven. It can include large parking garages, homeowners association (HOA) communities, shopping malls such as Tysons Corner and Springfield Mall, and more. Because these particular car accidents are on private property, usually the police department will refuse to come out - and this leads some people to believe that because it was a private property car accident, they do not have a claim.

This is not true! If you have been injured as a result of someone else's negligence, you may still have a claim against that person, regardless of where the accident happened. Call an experienced car accident lawyer to fight for you for crashes in parking lots, just as he fights for people who were hurt on a highway. Contact Blaszkow Legal today and Get Justice with Joe!

Traffic laws and private property

Most people believe that traffic laws do not exist on private property. They are only partially correct. As a general principle, Virginia traffic laws are unenforceable on private property, with some specific exceptions. For example, a police officer can still write a citation for reckless driving, DUI, and can still write parking tickets for violations of fire lanes and handicap spaces. Police officers, however, cannot give traffic tickets for driving through a stop sign on private property - which is unsafe, no matter where you are!

While breaking these traffic rules on private property might not have traffic court consequences, they can still have civil consequences. And ignoring these traffic control devices, whether private or public, can still result in car accidents that cause injuries. Just because another driver may not be guilty of a traffic infraction, does not mean that such a driver is not negligent.

Negligence is simply defined as failing to drive a motor vehicle with due care and regard for others: pedestrians, bicyclists, buses, trucks, and of course, other motorists. Negligence is what you have to prove to file your claim against the other driver; proving negligence is what good car accident lawyers do.

Remember: all motorists, everywhere, have an obligation to operate vehicles with due regard, and without being negligent.

What should I do if I am involved in a private property car accident?

  1. Call Security. Most large facilities, such HOAs and malls have a security department on duty. These security officers will respond out if you call them, and will help facilitate an exchange of information. The officers, if they are competent and professional, may also gather information, just like policemen. The better security officers will themselves begin to photograph the scene, and possibly even look for camera footage. These officers will create a report, which, just like a police report, will help as a piece of evidence in the investigation of your case

  2. Identify the driver of the car. Many people when they are involved in a car accident only get pictures of the other person's registration and insurance. You need to get a copy of the other person's driver's license! A registration tells you who owns the car, and the insurance card tells you who is insured. But your case is not against those people (usually), it is against the man or woman who is driving the car. Remember: as the person bringing the claim, you have to prove that. Always always get a copy of the other person's driver's license, or state ID card

  3. Identify Witnesses and passengers. Always get the contact information for people who are possible witnesses later on. Your passengers, and the passengers in the other vehicle are examples of those witnesses, as well as any other people who may have seen the accident. Under ideal circumstances, you want to get each person's name, address, phone number and email.

  4. Document the scene. Take lots of pictures, and video, too. In the days of cell phones, there is no such thing as too many pictures. We could always delete what we don't need later on. You want to take pictures of your vehicle, the other person's vehicle, and the scene itself. If you see a camera nearby, go ahead and get a picture of it.

  5. Get checked out by a doctor. If you have been hurt in a car accident, then you need to get evaluated by a medical doctor. If you are in serious pain at the scene of the accident, then call an ambulance. Of course, you have the option of going to the hospital yourself, or going to an urgent care center. You want to get evaluated by a trained medical professional who can assess any traumatic injuries or pain that you're having.

  6. Call Blaszkow Legal. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner you will be protected and defended from all of the people that want to minimize your case, including the at-fault driver's insurance company, as well as your own insurance company. Just like in criminal court, anything you say can and will be used against you by those insurance outfits. An experienced private property car accident lawyer will help to give you advice and guidance at every step of the case.

Most accidents on private property are low speed. Do I still have a case?

Even low speed accidents can result in serious injuries. You have a right to make a claim for your damages and injuries sustained as a result of a car accident. But you have a burden to prove those injuries. This is why it is so important to get to a doctor right away. It is not sufficient under the law to say that you were hurt, with no evidence to back that up. The medical records created by an evaluating and treating doctor are generally the best evidence to prove that.

Like all car accidents, you have a claim for your damages. These generally include:

  • Medical Bills and Expenses

  • Pain and Suffering

  • Permanent Injury

  • Disfigurement

  • Scarring (from injuries, or surgeries)

  • Lost Wages

  • Loss of Earning Capacity

  • Diminished Value (for newer cars and rare/antique cars)

  • Future Medical Expenses (if justified)

Causes of car accidents on Private Property

Some car accidents on private property have causes unique to that property, depending on the location.

  • Drivers backing out of parking spaces without looking

  • Aggressive driving

  • Reckless driving

  • Speeding on perimeter roads

  • Drunk Driving after meals or nights out

  • Distracted Driving due cell phones, GPS devices, infotainment systems, etc.

  • Delivery trucks

  • and more

Just as you are driving carefully to get home safe, so should all other drivers. But of course, that does not always happen, and you cannot predict what other drivers will do.

Investigating Private Property Car Accidents in Virginia

A unique feature of car accidents on private property is that there is a higher likelihood that there will be camera footage that caught the crash on private property vs the highway. This makes sense when you think about it: when you are driving into a shopping mall parking lot, its to buy something. You're at a business! And business owners, whether major corporations or individuals, always protect their investments!

However, camera footage on private property can be difficult to obtain. Many stores and businesses, such as Walmart, categorically refuse to hand over the camera footage without a subpoena - even if it will help injured parties. All is not lost, however. Blaszkow Legal's team of staff members, paralegals, and investigators get to work on preserving the camera footage immediately after you become our client. While a property may not give us the footage we want, they will save it, pending the issuance of a subpoena later on.

There is a limited about of time to preserve camera footage. Most camera systems record for 30 days, which means that once 30 days comes around, whatever was recorded on day 1 will be overwritten. Some cheaper camera systems only maintain data for 72 hours! If you are hurt in a car accident on private property, you need to call a lawyer right away, so we can begin assembling the evidence we need to make your case.

Get Help from a Private Property Car Accident Lawyer Today!

If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of another person or company, even if that incident was on private property, you still have a claim for the same damage as you would have if that crash had happened on the interstate! Never let an insurance company belittle your case, just because the crash happened in a parking lot.

You need an experienced team of attorneys, paralegals, and investigators to help you through a very complicated process. Call us today for a free consultation - 703-879-5910

Fighting for clients in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC!

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