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Can You Pursue a Claim for a Car Crash on Private Property?


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Nov 11, 2019 in Car Accidents

car accident girl on phoneWhen a car crash occurs on privately-owned property, determining liability may be more challenging since there are often different rules than on a public road. However, you may still be able to pursue compensation for the damages you sustained.

If you would like help filing a potential claim, we invite you to contact one of our experienced South Bend car accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak.

We offer a free consultation to review and understand the circumstances of how your accident occurred and discuss your legal options. If we represent you, there are no out-of-pocket expenses to add to your stress. We do not collect any fees from you unless we are successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf.

Immediately After the Accident

When a collision occurs on private property, your first step should always be to contact the authorities.

However, if there are no serious injuries and the accident is minor, the police may not always come to the scene. This is especially true if the incident happens on private property.

It is still a good idea to calmly, but firmly request a police report to have an official record of the crash. Insurance companies typically push back in paying out a claim if there is no accident report. At the very least, you can be sure any insurer will try to pay as little as possible.

Other important first steps after an accident include:

  • Seek medical treatment – Get examined to be sure you receive the appropriate care and create a medical record of any injuries.
  • Exchange contact details with the property owner and/or person who caused the accident.
  • Take photos – Capture the scene, damage to the property or vehicles, and any visible injuries.
  • Do not apologize or admit any fault – Let the investigators determine liability.
  • Do not accept offers of money unless you are willing to accept less than the potential value of your claim.
  • Document details - It is better to document the accident while the memory of it is still fresh.
  • Contact a trusted personal injury attorney before you call your insurance company to make sure you have someone on your side to protect your best interests

Determining Liability

Certain elements must be established to prove that the owner or at-fault party owed you a duty of care and breached it - he or she acted negligently and caused the accident.

However, establishing that an individual violated certain laws or acted in a careless manner is more challenging on privately-owned property. While you still need to prove negligence, the same laws of the road may not apply.

Additionally, establishing liability on private property may be difficult. Sometimes, the owner may be helpful, especially if he or she feels that contributing evidence, such as security camera footage, may help relieve them of any fault for the accident. In other cases, the opposite may apply. A property owner may become defensive and challenge your right to pursue a claim.

Whether or not a property owner cooperates, there could be other factors that may help you to establish liability. For example, there may have been blind spots on the premises that the owner should have known about and corrected.

In order to establish any right to recover damages, you must also be able to establish a connection between the at-fault party’s negligence and the injuries you suffered.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the details of your claim and consider all contributing factors to help determine the potential liability of the property owner and other involved parties.

Can You Recover Damages?

Indiana uses a comparative fault system that prevents accident victims from recovering compensation for any damages sustained if they were responsible for 51 percent or more of the accident.  

However, if you were less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, you may still recover damages, but your award will be reduced by your percentage of liability. For example, if you sustained $100,000 in damages and are assigned 20 percent of the fault, your award will be reduced by $20,000.

If multiple parties are to blame, they can each share a percentage of responsibility.

Contact Us for Help with Your Claim

If you were injured in a car crash on private property, it is important that you take immediate steps to protect your legal rights. An insurance company will likely work quickly to try to minimize or deny your claim. It is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to help protect your interests and help to maximize compensation for your damages.

At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we charge no upfront fees and provide a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.

Contact us today to get started on your claim. Phone: (844) 678-1800