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What Happens When Car Accidents Occur on Private Property?

Posted on February 24, 2023 in

There is a common misconception that law enforcement in Arizona has no jurisdiction over car accidents that occur on private property. This leads many people to not call the police or report car accidents that take place away from public roads. However, if you wish to seek insurance benefits for property damage or injuries caused by an accident on private property, it is in your best interest to report the collision. You should then seek the assistance of a local car or motorcycle accident attorney in Scottsdale as you begin to navigate the process of your claim.

Should You Report the Crash?

If a crash occurs on private property, such as a vehicle driving into a garage door or backing into a car that is parked in your driveway, you may think it best not to involve the police. It is worth noting, however, that police in Arizona still have authority over vehicle accidents that occur on private property. While it is true that the police are more limited in terms of when they can issue citations for traffic violations that occur on non-public roads, they still have some jurisdiction.

If a car accident on private property involves a serious infraction, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or reckless driving, it should still be reported, as the police have the same authority over these incidents regardless of where they occur. Similarly, if a driver damages private property and takes off (a hit-and-run), this type of accident should be reported to local law enforcement. The law requires drivers to stop after an accident, regardless of whether the driver is on public or private property.

Even if the circumstances of the car accident do not legally require police reporting, it can serve your interests to do so if you were injured or your property was damaged. Obtaining a police report can make for a stronger insurance claim. The police report will contain important information about the accident, such as the date, time, location, a description of the damage caused and information from the at-fault driver. 

Whose Insurance Pays for an Accident on Private Property?

In Arizona, the person or party who is at fault for causing a car accident is who must pay to repair the damage. Typically, this person’s car insurance company will pay for property repairs, property replacement, vehicle repairs and any medical costs caused by the collision. The required amounts of insurance for drivers in Arizona are currently $25,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, $50,000 in bodily injury insurance per accident and $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. 

It may also be possible to file a property insurance claim for a car accident that causes private property damage. If the collision caused property damage to a home, garage or another structure, the property owner’s homeowners insurance may pay for repairs. Homeowners insurance will typically pay for damage caused to a property by accidents and unforeseen events, including a car crashing into the home. This includes if the owner of the home was driving or was the parent of the person who was driving the car.

If an accident on private property damages both your home and vehicle, you may find yourself filing two different claims – a homeowners insurance claim for property repairs and a car insurance claim for vehicle repairs. This could also mean that you have to pay two deductibles for the same accident, even if you were not at fault. If you get involved in an accident on private property, get legal help with the claims process from a car accident attorney in Scottsdale at Stone Rose Law.