A car accident on a private property is handled differently. In general, a private property is not owned by the government. Highways and other public roadways are owned by the government, and most people know to contact emergency medical services and the police after an accident happens. What should one do after an accident on a private property, though?
After a collision on a private property, one should seek medical treatment and contact law enforcement. Those involved should also exchange contact information, such as phone numbers, emails, and how to get in touch with the other party’s insurance provider. Taking photographs of the damage and entire accident scene is also helpful. Some people also write down everything that happened while it is still fresh in their memories.
The police may be slow in arriving, and it is better not to discuss the accident with anyone else at the accident scene while waiting. Shared information could later be used against someone, and it is especially important to never admit fault.
One cannot know what the total cost of the damages will be until it has been determined by professionals. There could underlying physical injuries or damage to the vehicle that is not clearly visible.
Also, even if immediate medical attention is not given, it is best to get checked out by a physician as soon as possible. Many injuries take time to show up, and not addressing them can lead to some pretty serious medical complications.
Should I Leave the Accident Scene?
After the accident, the vehicles should not be moved unless they present a safety hazard. They are less likely to be dangerous where they stand since they are not on public property. No one should leave the accident scene right away because it is important to contact law enforcement, seek medical attention, and gather contact information and evidence.
Should I Contact the Owner of the Property?
It is also important to contact the property owner, although it may take some effort to get this information. A good place to start is the city’s tax collector’s office. Even if the property owner is not liable for the accident, they should know what happened, and they could also provide information that could help the case.
If a person hits a car and the owner is nowhere in sight, the at-fault party should record what happened and leave their contact information somewhere where the owner can find it.
What About a Police Report?
When an accident occurs on a private property, a police officer may be able to provide an incident report. When the police does not show up at a scene, security guards or employees sometimes prepare these reports. Police officers cannot issue tickets at accident scenes. Not having a police report or ticket can make it harder for a victim to prove liability, but sometimes there are security cameras on the property. If the footage can be accessed, this could be a source for evidence.
An accident should be reported to the auto insurance provider right away, even if there is only minor damage. Reporting the incident earlier could make the claims process easier and increase the likelihood of receiving compensation.
The property owner could also be uncooperative, which makes the situation much more difficult. It is best not to get into an argument with them at the scene or afterwards. It is best to stay calm and to look for ways to prove that another party was at-fault for the incident.
How to Prove Liability
Security camera footage could show that the property owner was liable for the accident. A property owner has a duty to take care of known and foreseeable safety hazards to prevent their legal visitors from accidents, such as clearing ice and snow. Other examples of property owner negligence could include unmarked construction sites, broken lights, and defective entry gates.
A driver can also contribute to the car accident. Distracted driving, failing to yield or follow other posted rules, and drunk driving can all cause serious accidents. In some situations, collisions are caused by multiple factors, like poor visibility, debris, and inexperienced drivers.
A property owner may refuse to cooperate, especially if they are worried about liability. It is also not unusual for an insurance company adjuster to make it difficult to settle a claim. An experienced lawyer will help a victim with a personal injury claim and make sure they receive proper compensation.
What is Contributory Negligence?
Determining liability is especially important in Maryland, which follows contributory negligence laws. This means that if a person contributed to the accident, they can be held partially liable. Maryland is one of four states that follows this law. It means that even if the injured party was found to be only one percent responsible for the private property accident, they may not be able to collect damages. For this reason, it is important to contact a lawyer right away after a car accident.
Towson Personal Injury Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients with Complicated Car Accident Cases
When a car accident occurs on a private property, understanding the right steps to take can be overwhelming. Speak to one of our trusted Towson personal injury lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC for help with your case. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free consultation today. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.