Using a valet service can be convenient and necessary in some situations. While most places with valet services also offer self-parking options, sometimes the only parking at an establishment, or the easiest parking option, is allowing the valet to take your car and park it for you in a secure lot.
While they’re doing this, though, what happens if they crash your car? Whether it was an accident while parking your car, or they were taking your vehicle out for a spin when they weren’t supposed to, if they crash your car, you’re likely wondering what this means for you.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know when a valet crashes your car.
Who Is Liable for a Valet’s Negligence?
You won’t know the damage that a valet has done to the vehicle you trusted to their care until they return it to you. When you get your car back from them, you should immediately inspect it for any damage or stolen items from the inside. If there is immediately-visible damage, you should more closely inspect the vehicle for more damage that you might not be able to see.
Once you establish that your car has been damaged in their care or something is missing, you’re likely wondering what happens next and who is responsible. For many valets, the ticket you receive could attempt to waive them of liability in the event of any damages or stolen goods from your vehicle, but that’s not always valid.
Even though you might think the individual valet will be the one responsible for what happened to your vehicle, the company is likely responsible since they employ and oversee that specific valet driver. While they could see repercussions individually from their employer, your case will most likely be taken up with the valet company for a damaged car.
Valet companies are required to carry insurance for these reasons, which means your damage or stolen items could be covered under their policies. The National Parking Association oversees valet companies and requires members of the association to carry $1 million of legal liability coverage and $5 million for personal injury and property damage. States could also have their own requirements for coverage as well.
This means that with proper documentation, proof, and reporting, your damages will likely be covered by the valet company’s policy. This can all be confusing, so let’s look at the steps you can take directly after your car is damaged or property is stolen by a valet. That way, you have tangible actions to take.
What to Do If a Valet Damaged Your Car
Now that you know who will likely be held responsible for what happened to your car, and who will cover your damages, you’re probably wondering what you need to do to ensure you have as firm proof as possible. It’s true—evidence will be essential to your claim and recovering damages. That’s why you need to know what to do immediately after you notice your vehicle was crashed or damaged by a valet.
Here are the steps you can take to ensure you have as much proof as possible of your damaged car and can hold the correct party accountable for the property damage that occurred under the valet’s supervision:
- Take pictures of the damage and the rest of your car in case there are other damages you don’t see initially
- Take note of any valuables missing from your car
- Speak with the head of the valet service, or the business that employs them
- Get the valet company’s contact information and insurance information
- If the damage is bad enough, you could make a police report, but that could be up to the discretion of the police
- Report the incident to your insurance company so you have record of it
When you follow all of these steps, you have the best possible chance of getting justice for the damages that the valet caused to your vehicle. This way, you have evidence to show that they damaged your car while it was under their care, and that they’re liable for the harm it endured.
This can all get complicated, which is why you could need a car accident lawyer on your side. When you hire a car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices, you can rest assured that you’ll get justice for what happened to your property.
Common Damages from a Valet Crashing Your Car
There are many different kinds of damage that could happen when a valet crashes your car. Not only can you suffer damages when they get into a minor or severe wreck, but there is also the possibility of missing valuables from your vehicle when it’s returned to you. Under any of these circumstances, you’ll likely want to take legal action for what they’ve caused you to suffer.
Here are some of the most common types of damages that you might see on your vehicle from a valet crashing or damaging your car that you’ll want them to take responsibility for:
- Damaged bumpers
- Broken windows
- Flat tires
- More serious body damage if the crash is serious
- Other serious damage from a more serious crash
- Much higher mileage
- Missing personal items
Of course, these are just the main types of damages that could happen to your car when a valet crashes it, or does anything else with it that they weren’t given permission to do. When you get your car back and report the damages to the valet, they could claim you signed away their liability with your valet ticket, but that won’t always stand.
Figuring out who is liable, working with insurance companies, and determining what you’re owed can all get complicated. That’s why it can be beneficial to hire a car accident attorney. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and ensure you get what you deserve for the damages.
Thomas Law Offices Is Here for You
When you trust someone else to care for your vehicle as you do, it can be frustrating to see that it’s been damaged when returned. Valets are supposed to park your car safely and without damage. When the opposite has happened, our car accident lawyers could help you.
At Thomas Law Offices, we understand how complex insurance claims and other claims can be. We’re here to support you and ensure you get the justice you deserve. Reach out to our office today so we can get started working for you.