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Thread: Privaty Property damage to Car - Texas

  1. #1

    Default Privaty Property damage to Car - Texas

    I recently suffered damage to my vehicle in a parking lot area (actually area behind store as it is a through street connecting to another street), but still private property. My insurance company has considered my car a total loss (almost $9k in damages) and is only paying about $1K short of what I owe to the lender. Also I have incurred rental car charges (not covered by insurance), not to mention the stress and pain of trying to buy another car on average to below average credit now. I emailed the property management and they then forwarded my email to the company that owns the property I assume, but they are in a whole other city here in Texas.

    Backstory:
    The area is behind a closed down grocery store, but many drivers like me frequent the private road as it connects to a parallel street on the other side due to traffic on the main street. Also there are no signs posted that the street is not to be used for thru traffic nor do they have fences or it blocked from use. Apparently the property owner was having construction done on this road as they HAD cones blocking cars from going back there for a week or so. I was not in that area for several weeks after that due to not being at work and when I started going back there again, it was during darkness and due to inadequate lighting there was about a 5-7 inch deep hole cut out of the ground and apparently the contractor did not cover it up or provide adequate warning to drivers. So my suspension was destroyed and gone.... Although I was just barely able to limp to work in it. Later that day I took pictures, video (even at night) to show the size of the hole and how hard it is to see at night even at low speeds. After I emailed them, they insisted I should contact my insurance company and also asked what my business was being back there, irrelevant as far as I am concerned if they do not maintain a proper driveway. I have not answered yet as I was trying to get everything in order to probably file suit or at least provide them a chance to cover my damages first. But a week later I checked the area and now they have covered it up and re-cemented the area and blocked it off with a full orange construction netting and a more solid warning. I took pictures of this also to show that after they were contacted by me, they looked to fix the issue so they were aware of what happened.

    I am looking into small claims court, but I do not know who I need to serve, the property management or the property owner and do I use the court in the area where the incident happened or where the company resides? Also how much do I sue for? The total car value given by insurance company or damages?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Using property known to be private and without explicit consent of the owner is going to be your biggest problem. Doesn't matter if everyone and their momma is doing it, it's still wrong. You did it and you incurred damage. Not just my opinion, but I betcha the court, jury and insurance company would see it that way.

    But I could be wrong. So ideally, ask a lawyer. Most areas have some kind of a community program where you can get a lawyer ion the cheap to review your case, if you can't find one to give a free initial consultation.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by cactus jack View Post
    Using property known to be private and without explicit consent of the owner is going to be your biggest problem. Doesn't matter if everyone and their momma is doing it, it's still wrong. You did it and you incurred damage. Not just my opinion, but I betcha the court, jury and insurance company would see it that way.

    But I could be wrong. So ideally, ask a lawyer. Most areas have some kind of a community program where you can get a lawyer ion the cheap to review your case, if you can't find one to give a free initial consultation.
    What would I need explicit consent for? There are business there, this is a strip center, not a private business location. There are multiple businesses here in this strip center, it is their responsibility to maintain their property to ensure customers do not have incidents like this happen.

  4. #4
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    You might only get what the ins. co. is willing to pay but you can run it by a lawyer as suggested.
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  5. #5
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    You admit it is a private road? And that you had no business except using it as a cut-through? And you made the choice to take it in the dark?

    I am not so sure that there is any expectation of a free and clear road for public use in this case, especially in TX I work for a property management company and I know we would fight the claim because of the above factors and so would our insurance company.

    You made some bad choices. And there were consequences for your bad choices. Don't see how that property owner should be held liable. You of course can try. But you might have a hard time convincing a jury that they were responsible. Even if they didn't have signs posted. And I suspect it is illegal to do so. I know my DH got a ticket for cutting through a parking lot in Houston to avoid a bad intersection. And it sounds like this was your same purpose.

  6. #6
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    Like hr for me, I work for a (residential) property management company. Any damage to a vehicle on our property would fall under the owner's insurance.

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