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Author Topic: accident--who is responsible  (Read 789 times)
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papasmurff
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« on: December 26, 2009, 11:49:18 PM »

Last night I was involved in a 7 car accident in the parking lot of my apartment complex.  The only vehicle I struck.... luckily.... was my girl friends.  No one was hurt.

The incident occurred because on black ice and an incline in the parking lot.  Basically i slid sideways into my gf's car.  I called the answering service and the maintenance man called me back and said there was nothing he could do (block it off, salt, or anything) and that everyone was gone.  He also said that this happened this time last year as well and that it will continue to happen. 

My thought is similar to falling on ice (except for the getting hurt part).  They failed to maintain the lot resulting in an accident.  This wasn't caused by driver negligence as the vehicles slid sideways into each other.

I am planning on calling my insurance on Monday.  I really just want her car fixed.  Mine was basically fine.... she drives a saturn which is basically a plastic body.  My car is metal... therefore her's took most of the damage.  So who should be responsible to foot the bill?

I have attached a photo.  My car is on the left... hers on the right.  Some of you my see a red car behind us (their plate is bright in the flash)... we both missed it which was involved in a three car.....
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WinoMcCougarstein
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2009, 12:29:04 AM »

Black ice is tricky.  It's much easier to find someone not at fault for a single vehicle black ice accident as it is generally an unforseeable hazard.  However, since you hit another car I would say you're going to be at fault.  The apartment complex will not be found liable in the same way the city isn't found liable for accidents that happen on roads and freeways during the snow season.  I would put money on your insurance company accepting liability on this one and paying for the damages to you gf's car.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 12:31:14 AM by WinoMcCougarstein » Logged

papasmurff
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2009, 12:58:59 AM »

hmmm... my though was similar to that of someone falling on the ice.  Really, I am not sure... I have gotten mixed opinions on the issue..  I would think it could be different from an accident on a street because it is private property... therefore it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure safe conditions....
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Tebunker
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2009, 01:47:01 AM »

Quote from: papasmurff on December 27, 2009, 12:58:59 AM

hmmm... my though was similar to that of someone falling on the ice.  Really, I am not sure... I have gotten mixed opinions on the issue..  I would think it could be different from an accident on a street because it is private property... therefore it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure safe conditions....
Your Insurance agent should be able to help, but you an issue if you didn't file a police report. More than likely you didn't and since it's on a private lot odds are the Police wouldn't show up anyways.
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WinoMcCougarstein
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2009, 01:50:25 AM »

Let us know what happens.  I hope it works out for you, but as a claims adjuster I really don't think your insurance company will even attempt to pursue the property managers for damages.  What it comes down to is, they were not behind the wheel of the car. 
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Blackadar
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2009, 01:37:01 AM »

Er, how exactly did this happen?  7 cars? 
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2009, 05:22:59 AM »

Simple: the super in papasmurrff's apartment building gave out one of these to each tenant.

Quote from: Laptop "Steering Wheel Desk" Reviewer
Wow is this thing great! I use it as a "mini-bar" when the friends and I go out to the bars. I can quickly fix multiple shots of tequila for myself and the friends as we drive from one bar to the next. We also discovered that if you place a pillow on top of it and turn on the cruise control you can catch quick naps on the interstate. If you swerve to the left or right the rumble strips on the road wake you up in plenty of time before you get into trouble. I can now take longer trips without being tired!

Also, i am now dating a midget and she fits nicely on the steering wheel desk which allows us to experiment sexually while driving. This thing is like WD-40 or duct tape, it is a million and one uses!


-Autistic Angel
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rshetts2
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 05:20:24 PM »

there is this nice little out for insurance companies.  Its called "you were not driving in a manner that was safe for the current conditions."  You can in fact get a ticket for that, even if you were following all speed limits etc.  Its very subjective and an easy card to play to avoid liability.  In other words I doubt very much pursuing the Apt. complex owner will have a positive yeild.  You can certainly ask your insurance company about the possibility but dont expect it to happen.
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papasmurff
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 05:37:45 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on December 28, 2009, 01:37:01 AM

Er, how exactly did this happen?  7 cars? 

Well the first two were an infiniti and a truck.  The infiniti slid, apparently and made it into a parking spot.  The truck slid into the front passenger side moving the parked car.  The truck took off after leaving a note.  Later my GF and I slid side by side.  Last an SUV slid into the back of another car which then hit another parked car.  

The accident was a result of the parking lot being frozen.  There is an incline from left to right in the parking lot.  As it was iced over, any car attempting to go that direction was going to slide right to left.

When I called the management answering service maintenance called me back.  He said that they couldn't do anything and that this happened last year (which I never remember it happening).  He said that they could have put ice melt on it, but that it would just refreeze so there was no point.  I asked that they notify residents so that accidents wouldn't continue to happen or block off that section of the parking lot and he refused.  Security and I stopped 6 or so more cars from attempting to enter that area.  Security finally demanded that someone come up and address the issue.  

I have attached a sketch.  Keep in mind the lot slopes right to left.

The orange car got hit first and the truck took off.  

Then my gf and I slid side by side.

The blue cars were all involved when the outside car hit....

Edit:  Just talked to my insurance and lawyer.  Insurance and lawyer agree that there was negligence on the part of the apartment complex for failing to address a safety issue on their property after claiming they knew the issue could exist.  However, it is unlikely my insurance company will subrogate  the damages to the insurance company because the damage amount won't be high enough to make it worth it.
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Blackadar
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2009, 09:17:37 PM »

Quote from: papasmurff on December 28, 2009, 05:37:45 PM

Quote from: Blackadar on December 28, 2009, 01:37:01 AM

Er, how exactly did this happen?  7 cars? 

Well the first two were an infiniti and a truck.  The infiniti slid, apparently and made it into a parking spot.  The truck slid into the front passenger side moving the parked car.  The truck took off after leaving a note.  Later my GF and I slid side by side.  Last an SUV slid into the back of another car which then hit another parked car.  

The accident was a result of the parking lot being frozen.  There is an incline from left to right in the parking lot.  As it was iced over, any car attempting to go that direction was going to slide right to left.

When I called the management answering service maintenance called me back.  He said that they couldn't do anything and that this happened last year (which I never remember it happening).  He said that they could have put ice melt on it, but that it would just refreeze so there was no point.  I asked that they notify residents so that accidents wouldn't continue to happen or block off that section of the parking lot and he refused.  Security and I stopped 6 or so more cars from attempting to enter that area.  Security finally demanded that someone come up and address the issue.  

I have attached a sketch.  Keep in mind the lot slopes right to left.

The orange car got hit first and the truck took off.  

Then my gf and I slid side by side.

The blue cars were all involved when the outside car hit....

Edit:  Just talked to my insurance and lawyer.  Insurance and lawyer agree that there was negligence on the part of the apartment complex for failing to address a safety issue on their property after claiming they knew the issue could exist.  However, it is unlikely my insurance company will subrogate  the damages to the insurance company because the damage amount won't be high enough to make it worth it.

I'm still not entirely following you (I don't care about the other cars), but I'm going to assume you were driving and slid into your GF's car. 

Really, you're talking about premises liability and the concept of "reasonable care".  Essentially, it's incumbent on a commercial property owner to make sure their property is safe.  However, that's not absolute.  They usually have to know there is a problem and have a reasonable amount of time to fix it.  Furthermore, it must be something that can be fixed with reasonable care.  Often property owners are given a wide berth when an Act of God causes a problem (and an ice storm may qualify as such an act).  For example, you can't sue Best Buy because you were swept away in a flood when Katrina broached the levies in New Orleans.  But a commercial property owner can't let an ice patch sit right outside his front door a week after an ice storm because that spot is in the shade. 

There's no way for anyone here to say who is responsible, nor would I take the word of your attorney nor insurance agency (they both have their motivation to say that the site owner is responsible).  I'll just say that both sides probably have a pretty good case.

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papasmurff
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2009, 10:41:41 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on December 28, 2009, 09:17:37 PM


Really, you're talking about premises liability and the concept of "reasonable care".  Essentially, it's incumbent on a commercial property owner to make sure their property is safe.  However, that's not absolute.  They usually have to know there is a problem and have a reasonable amount of time to fix it.  Furthermore, it must be something that can be fixed with reasonable care.


This is where my question really was.  The maintenance individual who called me back stated that they knew of the problem and that it has happened before.  However, he didn't salt because if he had it would have just melted and refrozen (as was what caused the issue to begin with).  They had cleared the lot once and had failed to salt.  During the course of the early evening it refroze into black ice.  Again, he didn't salt because it, in his opinion, would have just refrozen.  To me, reasonable care would have been to properly salt the parking lot to avoid icing, which since this incident they have salted and the lot is perfectly clear.

My issue was that they knew of the problem and refused to act because of what I interpret as wasting money salting when they believed it would just refreeze.  
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 10:43:12 PM by papasmurff » Logged

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