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Auto Accident on Private Property
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Auto Accident on Private Property

Auto Accident on Private Property

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Auto Accident on Private Property

As strange as it sounds, the location of an auto accident can influence the case. When it comes to personal injury cases, private and public properties are not treated the same. You will need a different strategy to win a case regarding an auto accident on private property.

You need an attorney regardless of the location of the accident. An experienced attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. In addition, if you lost a loved one, a wrongful death attorney can help you recover death benefits.

Contact Morgan and Morgan auto accident lawyers to learn more about your legal options.

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  • What Makes an Auto Accident on Private Property Different?

    The primary difference between an auto accident on private property and one on public property is the set of rules that applies in these two environments. Notably, public property, such as roads, must follow certain strict requirements during construction and beyond.

    For example, when the state constructs a highway connecting two towns, such a road must meet strict requirements, including safety. On the contrary, private property owners usually have the freedom to apply their own rules when constructing private roads. After all, since their property is private, the government does not need to impose strict engineering rules.

    This does not necessarily mean that private property owners can do whatever they want on their property or construct whatever structure they wish. Each jurisdiction has its unique requirements when it comes to construction projects on private property. That said, private property owners have much more freedom than public property owners.

    Your local grocery store is a good example. If it sits on private property, the property owner can decide how they want the parking lot structured. And in some cases, this freedom can be dangerous if misused.

    For instance, a poorly-designed parking lot could lead to car accidents. But since the local government might not have jurisdiction over certain elements of a parking lot's design, the property owner can be held liable for car accidents on their property.

    Another example is the speed limit in an apartment complex. The local government might dictate the speed limit on local roads but not apartment complexes. So if your landlord sets the speed limit to 20 miles per hour, this could lead to accidents, especially when there is high human traffic within the premises.

  • What Are Some of the Most Common Auto Accidents on Private Property?

    Some common car accidents on private property include:

    Street Crashes

    Some streets, especially in gated communities, are usually under the management of a homeowner's association or other private businesses.

    Parking Lot Accidents

    A parking lot's design can contribute to accidents. These accidents can be avoided with proper design, but they occur regularly since private property owners do not need to follow strict rules when designing their parking lots.

    Collisions Due to Poor Road Conditions

    If the roads on private property are in poor condition, the risk of auto accidents is always high. Since the local government is not responsible for repairing such roads, it is the property owner's responsibility to ensure they are in good condition. Failure to do so could lead to a lawsuit.

    Collisions Due to Poor Engineering

    A property owner might want to increase the vehicle capacity at the parking lot of an apartment complex. But if the parking spaces are too tight, the risk of accidents is always high.

    Accidents Caused By Negligence During Bad Weather

    In most cases, it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that the property is free from obstruction. For instance, you expect your landlord to help clear the snow from the apartment's parking lot in the winter.

    The same applies if the roads within the apartment are icy. At the very least, the landlord should notify residents about dangerous driving conditions and devise a strategy to solve the problem. Failure to do so could be considered a form of negligence.

    Accidents Due to Lack of Signage

    Some private properties lack appropriate signage, leading to auto accidents. A good example is when you drive around a stretch of road frequented by kids. You expect the property to put up signs warning drivers to be careful while driving in that area. Therefore, the property owner can be held responsible if an accident occurs due to a lack of proper signage.

    Impaired Driving Caused by Driver's Negligence

    Impaired driving, distracted driving, and careless driving are good examples of cases where drivers can be held responsible for accidents on private property.

  • What Injuries Occur Due to Auto Accidents on Private Property?

    Car accidents on private property can lead to serious injuries or sometimes death. These vehicles do not need to travel 100 miles an hour to injure someone, take their life, or even destroy property.

    Some common injuries caused by car accidents include:


    This refers to the body's back-and-forth movement due to impact. To put things into perspective, the term “whiplash” derives from the rapid back-and-forth movement of a whip. This injury usually takes time to show its symptoms. If left untreated, whiplash can cause severe headaches, constant neck pain, and depression.

    Want to learn more about whiplash? Here's a detailed guide on what to expect if you win a whiplash case.


    A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that causes loss of consciousness. Such an injury can lead to temporary or permanent memory loss, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness, among other symptoms. If left untreated, this injury can lead to death.

    Did you know that you can also suffer from post-concussion syndrome if involved in such an accident? Read more about it here.


    Dislocation refers to the separation of two bones at the joint, mostly the limbs. Dislocation can lead to constant pain, limited movement, and torn tissues, tendons, and muscles.


    A fracture occurs when a bone breaks. When the broken bone tears through the skin, this injury is often referred to as an open or compound fracture. Such an individual might need surgery to fix the fractured bone.

    Soft Tissue Injuries

    Soft tissue injuries occur due to trauma to the tendons or muscles. Some examples of soft tissue injuries include contusions, sprains, and strains. 

  • What Should I Do if Injured in an Auto Accident on Private Property?

    Because private property is not treated the same as public property in most jurisdictions, the steps you will need to take will vary from state to state. That said, the following steps work most of the time:

    Call 911

    When you call 911, remember to request a police officer and an ambulance if you or your loved one has suffered life-threatening injuries. In some jurisdictions, police officers might not be able to write reports on private property.

    If they cannot do that, you may request them to write you an incident report. If that is also not possible, you can obtain an incident report from the property manager, landlord, security company guarding the property, or any other relevant authority.

    Collect Evidence

    You will need evidence to prove your case. Examples of evidence that could be used in such a case include photos and videos of the accident scene, incident reports, witness accounts, etc.

    Document the Accident

    Get the other driver's contact information, including their insurance card and driver's license. Also, document how you feel after the accident and its impact on your life.

    Seek Medical Attention

    Visit a doctor even if you do not feel any pain and discomfort at that particular moment. As mentioned earlier, injuries such as whiplash take time to show. The same applies to internal injuries. They do not show their symptoms immediately after the accident.

    Seeking medical attention is one of the best ways to catch these concerns before they become even more serious. In addition, it helps validate your claim.

  • Should I Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney?

    When you or your loved one suffers an injury caused by a car accident on private property, a seasoned attorney can fight for you. Such an attorney understands the complex laws that apply to private property in your state and how to navigate them. Precisely, the attorney can:

    • Evaluate your case to determine whether you have a valid claim
    • Assess your injuries and damages
    • Help you get specialized treatment for your injuries
    • Analyze available evidence against the other party and strengthen it if necessary
    • Investigate the accident scene to obtain facts
    • Identify the parties liable for your injuries—more than one party could be responsible
    • File a car accident injury claim with the insurer
    • Negotiate a reasonable settlement on your behalf
    • File a car accident lawsuit in court if the other party refuses to settle
    • Prepare you for complex court processes such as depositions and discovery
    • Fiercely represent you in court
    • File an appeal if the judge or jury rules against you
  • What Damages Can I Claim in an Auto Accident on Private Property?

    The kind of damages you can claim successfully will depend on the nature of your injuries. Generally, you can recover compensatory damages.

    Compensatory damages have two main subcategories: economic and non-economic damages.

    Economic damages involve loss of money. Examples include:

    • Medical expenses
    • Cost of ambulance
    • Cost of medical equipment
    • Cost of hiring a caregiver
    • Cost of transportation to and from your medical appointments
    • Lost wages
    • Loss of earning potential, etc.

    Non-economic damages do not involve loss of money. However, they are compensable with money. Examples of non-economic damages include:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Permanent disfigurement
    • Emotional distress
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • The Insurance Company Wants to Settle the Case. Should I Accept Their Offer?

    It is never a great idea to accept the initial offer from an insurer, especially without consulting an attorney. The initial offer is usually used to “test the waters.” Therefore, chances are it is not what you truly deserve.

    An experienced attorney can help assess your damages before filing a claim. If the insurance company offers an unreasonable settlement, the attorney can negotiate with them on your behalf. If they refuse to cooperate, the lawyer might file a lawsuit against them.

  • Why Do Some Insurance Companies Refuse to Settle Claims?

    Insurance companies are in business. They make money by receiving more insurance premiums and denying claims. Therefore, any compensation for an injury is considered a loss.

  • Does Car Insurance Cover Accidents on Private Property?

    Yes, unless the insurance policy states otherwise, most insurance policies cover accidents on private and public property.

  • Where Can I Find the Best Car Accident Attorney?

    Morgan and Morgan is the best law firm to contact if you are looking for an experienced car accident attorney to fight for you. We are the largest personal injury law firm in the country, serving clients from coast to coast. Regardless of where you live or where the accident occurred, there is always a Morgan and Morgan attorney near you ready to help.

    Since we are the largest personal injury law firm in the country, we have powerful resources to fight for you. And that's not all—we have a proven record of winning. To put things into perspective, we have won more than $15 billion as compensation for our clients over the last three decades.

  • No Win, No Pay

    We do not charge our clients upfront fees. If we do not win, you do not pay. Therefore, when you contact us for a free case evaluation, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain.

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Last updated on May 03, 2023

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