Many Americans use valet service at restaurants, stores, hotels, shopping malls, and other businesses and establishments. It is very convenient to just hand your car keys to a valet and let him or her park your vehicle for you so that you do not have to waste your time on circling around the establishment and looking for available parking spaces in the area.
Yes, valet service is very convenient, but also very risky. “Risky not because your car can be stolen by a valet or someone pretending to be a valet (though that risk always exists), but rather because your vehicle can arrive damaged or something can get stolen from inside your car,” explains our Pittsburgh valet parking accident attorney at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman.
But who can be held responsible for vehicle damage or missing items from inside your car when you use valet service? Will your claim be dismissed because you “assumed the risk” when handing your car keys to a valet?
First and foremost, it is important to understand what rights you have when a valet causes damage to your vehicle when parking it or when something goes missing from inside your vehicle.
In the vast majority of valet parking accidents, valet drivers refuse to admit fault, hoping that the owner of the vehicle will not notice damage or stolen property. “In many cases, the owner of the car fails to notice vehicle damage, which makes it nearly impossible to seek compensation for property damage if the damage has not been documented at the scene,” says our experienced valet parking accident attorney in Pittsburgh.
When a valet drives your car up to the front of the restaurant or other establishment so that you can retake possession of your vehicle, take a thorough look at your vehicle from all angles to see if there is any damage. Then, get inside and see if anything is missing such as jewelry, money, wallets, phones, watches, and other valuable items.
If you notice any scratches, dents, dings or any other type of vehicle damage after a valet returns your vehicle, do not hesitate to take photos of the damages. Tell the valet to wait while you are documenting the damages and then collect the following information:
If the valet is not eager to share any of the above-mentioned information or refuses to talk to you, go straight to the management of the establishment or business where the accident took place.
The valet or valet company may attempt to dismiss property damage claims arguing that the owner of the vehicle assumed the risk upon receiving a claim ticket. That’s why being represented by a skilled car accident lawyer is important to ensure that you are getting the financial compensation you deserve. Contact Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman for a free case evaluation today. Call our offices at 888-988-9467.