Long Beach, CA asked in Car Accidents, Municipal Law and Civil Litigation for California

Q: Should I contact my car insurance, or sue the owner of the parking garage? This happened in Orange County, CA.

I entered a parking garage and while looking for a spot the horizontal automatic gate closed on my car and caused damage to it. I wasn't moving at the time, my car was stopped in the middle of the gate while it was fully open. I was trying to beat the closing after another car went through, the gate opened for my car. But the gate did not sense my car was clearly obstructing it and without warning just closed onto it. From what I have read, the codes for this state that there needs to be a minimum of 2 safety protocols installed. One to reverse the gate if it closes onto something, and the other to sense that there is an obstruction so the gate does not close in the first place. The latter did not happen, hence the damage. I'm surprised that in a residential+business garage lot that it doesn't have the basic optical sensor that even single home residences have for their garage doors. I could easily see this causing serious bodily harm or death to someone had they fallen there, etc.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, your first step should be to contact your car insurance provider. They can guide you through the process of filing a claim for the damage to your vehicle. Your insurance company may also pursue subrogation, which means they might seek compensation from the parking garage owner if they determine the garage is at fault.

Simultaneously, you might consider gathering evidence of the incident, such as photos of the damage and the gate, any witness statements, and details of the event. This can be crucial if you decide to pursue legal action.

If you believe the parking garage was negligent, particularly if they failed to comply with safety protocols, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the garage owner. However, it's advisable to consult with an attorney who has expertise in personal injury or property damage cases to evaluate the strength of your claim and guide you through the legal process.

Keep in mind, proving negligence will require demonstrating that the garage owner failed to meet a standard of care, which directly caused the damage to your car. An attorney can help in establishing these elements based on the specifics of your case.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.