Dallas Valet Parking Accident Attorney
When you arrive at your favorite restaurant in Dallas or elsewhere in Texas, you may choose to hand your car keys to a valet if the parking lot is crowded. You expect the valet to park your car for you, and, when it’s time for you to go home, the valet will drive your car up to the front so that you can retake possession of your vehicle.
But what if your car arrives damaged? What should you do if you see damage on your car? Should you call the police or go straight to the restaurant manager? Who is at fault and who will pay you for the damage caused in a valet parking accident?
We asked our Dallas valet parking accident attorney at Law Office of Dorothy Hyde to answer these questions and help you figure out what rights you have when your car has been damaged through valet service at a restaurant, nightclub, bar, café, or any other entertainment establishment.
What to do in the event of a valet parking accident?
Unfortunately, more often than not, valets do not admit to the owner of the car their car has been damaged when the valet parked it. They are hoping that you will not notice damage on your car. And in many cases, car owners do not notice any damage or that something went missing from inside their car.
But when they do, what should be their course of action? Our experienced valet parking accident attorney in Dallas advises to always circle around your car and take a thorough look at your car when you pick up your vehicle from the valet to see if there’s any damage or if anything is missing from inside your vehicle (money, wallet, phone, documents, jewelry, watch, etc.).
If you have reason to believe that your car has been damaged in a valet parking accident, immediately take photos of the damage (and, preferably, also record a video). If there’s something missing from inside your vehicle, go straight to the restaurant management to collect the following information:
- The name of the valet suspected of damaging your car or stealing something from inside your car
- The contact information of the valet company
- The insurance information of the valet company (and/or the establishment) and
- Access to video footage to see how the valet parking accident occurred
If the valet is refusing to give you this information, go straight to the management of the establishment that employs the valet or uses the valet company’s services.
Who will pay for property damage caused by a valet?
Our Dallas valet driver accident lawyer warns that if there has been moderate or severe damage to your vehicle, it’s advised to call the police as soon as possible.
However, do keep in mind that the police may not arrive if the valet parking accident took place in a parking lot (if it’s part of a private property). Also, do not forget that you will have to report this accident to your auto insurance company in order to receive compensation for the damage.
Liability in a valet parking accident depends on whether the establishment uses the services of an individual valet or a valet company. If it’s the latter, you will most likely be able to file a property damage claim against the valent company. Either way, the valet or his/her company may argue that you “assumed the risk” upon receiving your claim ticket. In that case, you need to be represented by a skilled car accident lawyer in order to protect your legal rights and ensure that you are receiving the compensation that you deserve.