Is the Automobile Valet Responsible for Damages to My Car
Everybody likes to go out and have a good time on the weekends. Maybe you go to a fancy dinner. Or maybe you decide to spend the weekend at a hotel. In this day and age, most places offer valet.
Valet isn’t the luxury it was years ago, but people still like to take advantage of it. It’s convenience and a great way to have to avoid walking blocks back and forth to your car. In the wind, cold and rain, it’s nice to know that you can pay a few bucks to have someone get your car for you.
Most of the time, you get your car back without incident. But, what do you do if they bring your car back to you and it’s damaged? Who should be held responsible for the damages to your car?
Is the Restaurant or Hotel Liable for the Damages the Valet Caused to Your Car?
When you drop your car off at the valet, they’ll hand you a little card. On the back of that card is language that relieves the business from any liability for damages to your car. It basically says you’re on your own when it comes to property damage. It also states that the business is not responsible for any stolen property.
Generally speaking, these disclaimers work. Most people read that and don’t think they have any rights against the business. They submit a claim to their insurance company and just pay the deductible. They don’t think they stand a chance of going up against the business.
For the most part, they’re right. Depending on how the damage happened to your car, they may not be responsible. For example, if they park your car and some third party hits your car, they aren’t responsible. That’s no different than if you parked your own car in the lot and someone hit your car.
But if the damage is actually caused by their valet driver, the business may be responsible for the damages to your car.
When Will the Disclaimer of Liability Not Hold Up?
There are times when the disclaimer on the back of that little ticket won’t hold up. If the valet does something that causes the damage to your car, they may be held responsible. For example, the valet and the business in the following situations:
- The valet driver takes a corner too fast and hits a column in the parking garage
- The valet gets into an accident with another car
- The driver does something to the car that causes engine damage
- The driver runs over a nail and causes your tire to blow out
In all of these situations, the valet is directly responsible for your car’s damages. Had he exercised the reasonable standard of care in driving your car, he wouldn’t have gotten into an accident.
Valets are not strictly liable for damages to your car. You have to actually prove that they were negligent in driving or handling your car. These cases work the same as all other negligence cases. You must prove the following four (4) elements:
- The valet/business owed you a duty of care – this duty extends to their employees, including valet drivers
- They breached this duty
- You were injured or suffered property damage
- The damage or injury was caused by the defendant’s breach
Your Navarre personal injury lawyer can help prove that the defendant is liable for negligence.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Navarre, Florida
If your car has been damaged by a valet, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer in Navarre, Florida. Your lawyer will review your case and let you know if the business may be responsible for your damages.
It depends on the circumstances of your case. If the damage was caused by someone other than the valet driver, the business probably won’t be held liable. If, on the other hand, the valet driver did something that directly caused the damage, the business may be responsible.
Call and schedule your free initial consultation today. Your lawyer can let you know what your case may be worth. The valet will have lawyers working for them and so should you.