Who Is Responsible for Damages in a Valet Car Accident?

In a valet car crash, who’s responsible for damages? Once in a while or on date nights, people love to go to a fancy restaurant to have a good time. These high-end restaurants used to be the only ones with valet parking services. But these days, even regular restaurants and other businesses have valet attendants. This is because valet service isn’t the luxury it used to be some years ago.

Nowadays, most people take advantage of valet services. It is convenient and helps you avoid walking blocks from your car to the restaurant. So, when handing your car over to the valet attendant, you expect it to return the same way you left it. But things don’t always work this way. Sometimes, the valet attendant may get in an accident with your vehicle.

This leads to the question of who is responsible for damages done to your car by the valet attendant. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers attempt to answer this question. If you find yourself in such a situation, contact Bethune Law Firm immediately to learn your legal rights and options.

Is the Restaurant or Hotel Liable for the Damages Caused by the Valet to Your Car? 

If you’ve ever used valet service, then you must have received a card in exchange for your keys. If you’ve ever read the back of the card, you’ll see there’s a disclaimer or caveat that relieves the hotel or restaurant from any liability. The message at the back of the car usually states that the restaurant or hotel is not liable for any damage done to your vehicle. It also states that the establishment is not responsible for any stolen property.

As a result of these disclaimers, most people do not pursue a claim against the restaurant or hotel. They believe from the onset that they have no legal right against the business. In addition, the car owner may think they do not have a chance of winning against the restaurant or hotel. The car owner then submits a claim to their insurer and pays the deductible.

In most cases, this reasoning by the vehicle owner is valid, but it depends on how the damage to the vehicle happened. For example, if the valet attendant successfully parked your car and someone else strikes it, they are not responsible for the damage. This is because the same thing could have happened if you parked the car yourself.

However, if the valet attendant’s negligence caused damage to your vehicle, the restaurant or hotel might be liable. To determine liability in such an instance, consult with an Atlanta auto accident attorney.

When Will the Disclaimer by the Business Not Hold Up? 

There are situations that nullify the disclaimer at the back of the valet ticket. Below are some examples:

  • Where the valet attendant takes a corner too fast and strikes a column in the parking lot.
  • Where the valet gets into an accident with another vehicle in the parking garage.
  • Where the valet does something to the car that causes engine damage.
  • Where the valet runs over a nail causing the tire to blowout

The valet driver would be liable for your vehicle damage in any of the above scenarios. This is because they failed to exercise reasonable care when driving your vehicle. Furthermore, the restaurant or hotel will be responsible if there’s evidence that they knew that the valet attendant should not have driven a car.

For example, suppose a valet attendant has a drinking problem and is constantly intoxicated. If the restaurant or hotel hires such a person. They will be liable for any accident caused by the person. Again, contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer to help you determine the right fault party.

How Do You Prove the Valet Attendant’s Liability? 

A valet attendant is not strictly liable for the damage to your vehicle. As such, you need to prove the four elements of negligence before claiming compensation. Firstly, you need to show that the valet owed you a duty of care to handle your care so as not to cause it damage.

Second, you need to show that the valet attendant breached the duty of care. Thirdly, you have to establish that the breached duty harmed you, in this case, the damage to your car. Fourthly, you have to prove that you suffered damages, for example, the money spent fixing your vehicle. Once you can prove the four elements, you stand a chance of getting compensation.

Contact Bethune Law Firm Now!

If a valet attendant damages your vehicle, our car accident lawyers in Atlanta can help you get the maximum compensation. Getting you justice is our goal, so contact us at Bethune Law Firm today for a free case review.