Parking Lot Liability

November 12, 2012

Premise Liability

parking lot liabilityIf you park your car in a retail parking lot and it is stolen or vandalized, who is responsible?

Some may think the parking lot owner should reimburse an individual for his or her loss, but this is generally not the case.  However, if the possession, custody or management of the vehicle is released to the property owner—in what is known as a bailment—the property owner may be liable.

The most familiar example of a bailment is when one gives his keys to a parking lot attendant and the attendant is able to move that vehicle about the property without the owner’s permission.  This is an actual transfer of custody and transfer of control of the vehicle.

Even if a bailment relationship is not established, the owner of the lot or parking garage may be liable if damages to the vehicle on the owner’s property are created by the action or inaction of the parking lot owner or one of his employees.

It is possible to claim damages for your loss in other ways.  Auto insurance with comprehensive coverage generally covers stolen vehicles, but only for the market value of the car which will not be the same as the replacement cost.  As far as items stolen from inside the vehicle, a comprehensive auto insurance policy only covers items meant to be a permanent part of the car.  This means the car can’t function without them.  A built-in, factory-installed navigation system would likely be covered under a comprehensive policy, but not a dashboard-mounted GPS.

Homeowners or renters insurance may also cover personal items stolen from a vehicle.

If there are personal injuries to those on the owner’s property, a legal theory must be satisfied to prove that a property owner is liable for something  that happened on that owner’s residential or commercial premises.

To establish premises liability, the victim of an accident must prove that a dangerous condition existed that presented an unreasonable risk to a person on the property who had not anticipated the risk.  The property owner should have been able to foresee the condition.

The property owner may claim he or she was unaware of the dangerous condition and thus could not warn the public about it or the owner may claim there was no reasonable amount of time to adequately respond.  However, if a person can document that there were numerous robberies in a store parking lot , it may be adequate to show a dangerous condition which the property owner did not sufficiently address.

If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered  property loss on someone else’s property and are thinking about a legal claim against the party you believe is at fault, you should discuss your case with an experienced Ohio premises liability attorney.

There is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the injury’s occurrence in filing a personal injury suit in Ohio.

Please contact Slater & Zurz for a free consultation by calling 1-888-534-4850 or fill out the FREE CASE REVIEW form located on the right side of the web page.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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