Being involved in a car accident is stressful. If you were hurt during the incident, then you face medical bills alongside vehicle repairs. And, if other people were involved, you may be partially responsible for their repairs or medical bills too. But, what happens if no other cars were involved and the car accident took place on private property? Would you be responsible for covering all the costs?
Florida Law for Accidents on Private Property
As a driver in Florida, you should know that the state requires anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to carry two types of insurance — Property Damage Liability (PDL) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP). So, if you get into a car accident on private property, you can make a claim to your insurance company using the PIP coverage. And, if you’ve damaged another person’s private property, then they can make a claim through your PDL coverage.
However, Florida is a no-fault state. This means that regardless if you were at fault for the accident or not, you and the person whose private property is involved can both make claims. This also means that regardless of negligence and fault, your insurance company will have to pay. This is much different than other car accidents where negligence must be proven in order to ensure a payout.
What to Do After an Accident on Private Property
Contact the Authorities
The first thing to do when an accident occurs is to identify if anyone is seriously hurt and call the local police. An officer will arrive at the scene to make a report of what happened. This includes talking to anyone that personally witnessed the accident, asking you questions about what led to the accident, and making any notes about things they see at the scene of the accident which could have contributed to the accident — including debris on the road, which could cause you to swerve.
Simultaneously, an ambulance will arrive to treat anyone who is injured. However, if nobody is severely injured, then an ambulance ride to an emergency room may not be needed. However, you should always make an appointment with your doctor post-accident to ensure you do not sustain any wounds from the accident. Adrenaline can cause you to overlook injuries that may seemingly surface a few days after your accident.
You’ll want to get into contact with the owner of the private property. If the accident involved a home or business, then the owner may be available on the premises to immediately exchange information with you. However, if the accident occurred in another part of the property, the owner is not on-site, or if the owner lives out of state, then you may need to leave your information with the police officer so that they can put you in contact with the property owner.
If you’re able to locate the property owner, exchange information — including names, contact, and insurance information. This will make it easier for your insurance to contact them with any questions regarding the incident.
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, third parties — such as government agencies — could be found partially at fault for the private property accident. Your insurance would then want to pursue legal action against those agencies to account for their payout. As such, it’s in your best interest to document everything that led to the accident. Was there debris on the road? Was there a sign indicating private property? Did the state of the road impact your ability to maintain control — such as exceptionally large potholes or uneven lanes?
Make sure you take pictures of the accident and the surrounding environment. Take note of any business cameras that may have captured the accident. Surveillance footage can help support your story, but obtaining that footage can be time-sensitive. Include pictures of your injuries and any damage that occurred to the private property.
How an Attorney Can Help
Getting into an accident on someone else’s property can be daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. An attorney can ensure you receive the best payout possible. During the discovery process, they’ll schedule depositions of opposing parties, witnesses, and applicable experts to determine fault. This is used to get a good visual of how the accident happened. The discovery process also includes obtaining evidence, such as requesting and obtaining any applicable video surveillance.
Once all evidence is put together, the parties can begin settlement negotiations. If there’s no settlement agreement, the case moves on to trial. And, your attorney will present all the evidence they’ve collected during the discovery process to help you receive the maximum payout possible. This ensures that any third parties involved are held responsible, and your insurance premiums won’t go up due to your accident.
Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident on private property and you don’t know how to move forward, let us help you. Our legal experts will ensure you have the best outcome possible. Call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.