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Private Property Car Accidents in Utah

Posted June 12, 2020 | Uncategorized

The most common place for a car accident is on a highway or public road, but car accidents can happen anywhere, even on private property. Each state has its own laws pertaining to auto accidents, public roads, and highways. The same holds true when car accidents happen on private property. In this case, your car accident may fall under a different set of rules regarding insurance claims and receiving compensation.

For the most part, anyone that has been involved in a car accident knows the basic steps to take afterward: Trade insurance information and call the police to make a report. However, if you have been in a car accident on private property in Utah, there are a few more things you need to know.

First of all, Fielding Law can help you no matter what type of accident you are in. Our personal injury attorneys can help you determine if you have a solid case for a private property car accident claim or lawsuit.

What to Do If You are Involved in a Car Accident On Private Property

We spend most of our time traveling to work, shopping for groceries and other necessities, running errands, and transporting the kids to and from sporting events and school functions. Some of our common destinations have small parking areas that seem to set us up for an inevitable collision or fender-bender. 

From tight parking spaces to poor sign visibility and road or parking maintenance, many possible factors can contribute to a Utah car accident. Often, such problems are the direct result of negligence on the part of the property owner or manager.

Check everyone for injuries

Before anything else, check everyone involved in the accident for injuries before worrying about the damage to the vehicles or property. Assess the severity of injuries and determine if anyone needs immediate medical attention. If so, call for medical help right away.

If everyone involved only sustained minor injuries at most and may not require immediate medical help, it is still best to seek medical attention the same day of the accident if possible. You may be more seriously injured than you realize. Many times, silent injuries don’t show up until the adrenaline rush or the stress of the accident wears off.

When injuries are left untreated for too long, they get worse and the healing time lengthens. What’s more, it could be much more difficult to prove later on that your injuries were the direct result of the private property car accident, which could negatively affect your insurance claim.

Moving your vehicle

After a Taylorsville car accident, move your vehicle only if you’re in the way of other drivers or your obstruction could be a hazard to others. In most cases, it is better to leave the car right where it is to preserve evidence that may be needed later.

Assess the damages to all vehicles

When a car accident takes place on private property, it is essential to record what took place before, during, and after the accident. It can be hard to determine fault, but when the accident takes place on private property, it is essential to establish responsibility. Sometimes it could be the property owner who is at fault due to negligence.

If you have sustained damage, either to yourself physically or to your vehicle, take pictures and jot down notes that correspond with each image. Include photos and descriptions of not only the damage, but also the positions of the vehicles and any road or parking lot conditions that could have contributed to the accident. 

Any information or evidence you can gather may seem irrelevant at the time but may be useful later in establishing responsibility and backing up your claim. A lawyer can help you do this by using the information you gathered as substantial evidence.

Collect information from all parties involved in the accident

Remember to get all contact information from not only the people involved in the accident but also any eyewitnesses present. When gathering insurance details, remember to log all vehicle information and take pictures of the vehicles. Include the location, time, and weather conditions before and during the Salt Lake City car accident as well.

Do not leave the scene of the accident

Regardless of whether the accident is on a public road or on private propertynever leave the scene of the accident until you have made contact with everyone involved. If you were the only vehicle in the accident, you still must make contact with the property owner if at all possible. Give the property owner or manager the details of what happened and exchange insurance and contact information.

Utah car accident law requires anyone involved in an auto accident to remain at the scene until law enforcement has arrived, even if no physical damage or injuries have been incurred.  

When to contact the property owner

Once you have established that there are no immediate injuries, you should contact the property owner or manager as soon as possible. Regardless of whoever was at fault, the owner or manager should be informed that an accident occurred on the property, especially if there has been property damage.

Private properties often have surveillance cameras on-site, and the security footage may serve as invaluable evidence in your case.

Utah Car Accidents on Private Property

When a car accident happens on public or state highways, the state is free of liability. By contrast, when a car accident occurs on private property, the property owner may be responsible for damages in some way. Multiple people can be found at fault: the property owner or manager, another pedestrian or driver, or you.

In Utah, after most car accidents, you would file a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP covers compensation for financial losses regardless of who was at fault for the accident. PIP coverage is required under the no-fault law. 

However, If your injuries are substantial and you meet the prerequisites for a third-party liability claim, you can file against the driver who is at fault or the negligent property owner. These prerequisites include having incurred $3,000 or more in medical bills and having suffered a severe permanent injury classified as disability, impairment, disfigurement, or dismemberment.

Although we still recommend you call the police to report the accident, they may not have jurisdiction to determine who was at fault in a car accident that has occurred on private property. Nor may they be authorized to issue citations under these circumstances. 

Much of the time, the police only come to document the accident and do not file a full police reporteven though they can. Thus, it can be hard to determine who of those involved was at fault or negligent.

That’s why your very own proper and thorough documentation becomes increasingly more important in a car accident on private property.

Utah Car Accident Statute of Limitations 

A “statute of limitations” is a state law that sets a strict time limit on your right to file a claim or bring a lawsuit to court. In Utah, you have 4 years from the date of the incident in most car accident cases. 

If the car accident resulted in death, however, there is a 2-year statute of limitations for a surviving family member to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim who passed away. The clock starts ticking on the day of the victim’s death, rather than the accident date.  

You will want to start the claim process well within the statute of limitations to give yourself plenty of time. It is best to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through the legal process that is specific to your situation, and also to meet the deadline before it’s too late.

Private Property Injuries from Car Accidents

Private property accidents can range from no-harm, no-foul fender-benders to full-blown serious collisions that can leave a person unable to work or with life-long disabilities. Not only do these injuries create financial hardships, but it can also cause you undue mental stress. 

Our personal injury lawyers can help reduce some of your stress by helping you file a car accident claim. Together, we can seek compensation for your accident-related injuries and the costs associated with:

  • Medical treatments
  • Hospital and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Private property car accidents make up a significant portion of personal injury claims and may involve negligent property owners or careless drivers. These claims can get confusing fast, so consult with the personal injury lawyers at Fielding Law for free–just call (801) 666-2912.

Misconceptions about Hiring a Private Property Car Accident Lawyer

Anytime you are in an accident, you may hear from friends, family members, or even strangers trying to lend helpful advice. Generally, the information given is based on their specific circumstances and may not apply to yours. Well-intentioned advice may be meant kindly but could easily lead you astray so you miss out on the compensation you deserve.

Consider the following misleading pieces of advice and information:

  • “All car accident laws are the same”

    –FALSE: This is not true. Most states have their own car accident and private property accident laws. Utah is a no-fault state whereas other states hold at-fault insurance law.

  • “If you are at fault, admit it”

    –FALSE: On the contrary, your statement can be used against you later and affect your claim, so you must be careful of what you say. If you apologize or admit guilt, it can be used as “admission against interest.” Do not agree to pay for damages or make any other arrangements without first speaking to a lawyer.

  • “Small accidents with no injuries do not need to be reported”

    –FALSE: All accidents should be documented by the local police even if the accident happened on private property.

  • “You can leave the scene of non-injury private property accidents”

    –FALSE: This is a big misconception. You should always stay at the scene until the property owner or manager and the police are contacted. In Utah, this is required by law. 

  • “You do not need a personal injury lawyer for Utah private property car accidents”

    –FALSE: Many think that their insurance will handle everything which makes hiring an attorney unnecessary. However, insurance adjusters often seek loopholes in the policy to keep from paying you the highest claim amount possible. Missing out on the compensation you deserve could leave you in a financial mess, without a vehicle, unable to fully recover, or worse.

To find out what you actually need to do after a car accident on private property, contact the car accident lawyers at Fielding Law in Utah today. We are standing by 24/7.

Time to Call a Personal Injury Attorney 

When you have been in a private property car accident in Utah, you need legal representation from lawyers who know the intricacies of Utah’s state laws regarding auto insurance and premises liability. 

The Taylorsville personal injury lawyers at Fielding Law are just that. We know how to get the law working for you and we strive to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (801) 666-2912 for your free consultation, during which we can answer any questions you may have about your potential claim and explain what you can expect of the process.