Is the paid parking lot responsible to pay damages of my car that got flooded? 6 Answers as of November 22, 2012My car is flooded from a storm and I do not have comprehensive insurance. It was parked in an outside parking lot in an evacuation zone. My contract with the parking lot did NOT include a specific limitation of liability from flood damage. The only specific limitation of liability was towards lost profits and personal property in the car. There is a specific limitation of liability of up to $25,000 for theft, fire or explosion with the option to buy into more $ coverage. No one called me to tell me to take the car out and the gates were locked before the storm came. Some cars in the lot were lifted up and avoided the damage (not mine). I am currently in my payments to the lot. Is the parking lot responsible for damages to my flooded car? They have blurted out the Act of God defense in my initial conversation with them but does it even work in this situation (they could have bought flood insurance, especially since the lot was in an evacuation zone going back to Irene from 2011).
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
I do not see how they could control the flood. They can only be held accountable for things over which they have control. If you were driving on ice, at a speed of 2 miles per hour, and you stepped on the brakes for a red light block ahead, and skidded for the block and collided with my car which was either stopped at the red light or was traveling through the intersection on the green light, should you be held responsible for the accident? (The answer is YES, you would be responsible, because you have control over the car).
Answer Applies to: Michigan
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
The act of God defense does apply here (it is not really a defense as will be explained below). What insurance you have does not have any bearing on whether you are liable. It simply pays for act and omission for which you are liable. For example if I am driving and involved in an accident, if I was negligent and it was my fault I am liable, whether I have insurance or not. If I am not negligent, but it is the other driver's fault, then I am not liable. The fact that I could have bought insurance does not make it my fault or make me liable. The lot owes you a duty of exercising due care in keeping you auto protected. This may involve reasonable degree of security against theft, and making sure there are no hazards such a s a rotten tree that might fall on your car. The parking lot is not required to prevent hurricanes and floods. You would have to show that an act or omission of the lot owners breached their duty to exercise due care to prevent the damage. I doubt that it would be reasonable to expect them to move every car to higher ground when they got notice that a flood was coming (if they even got such notice). One would expect the car owners to do this. Now, if they locked you out and that prevented you from moving your car, that could be negligence. Normally, property owners are not responsible for "acts of God". It is not really a defense, it's just that the owner did nothing to cause the accident. It was an act of God. Lot owners did not cause the flood. You have to shoe that there is something a reasonable lot owner should have done under the circumstances keep the cars safe, something that they had a duty to do.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
What is an "evacuation zone" are you at a military installation? Storms are acts of God. And I don't know why a parking lot would insure your car from a storm. Does not make sense to me. all of the paper work you talk about and insurance coverage questions would of course be the subject of contract law. they can contract to do anything not illegal. Get a lawyer to review your paperwork. Act of God is a good defense in NC.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
An Act of God is a viable defense, however if they had knowledge that a storm was coming and that there may be a storm surge which could damage your car, then the "Act of God" defense won't cut it. The Act of God defense is only viable if the cause of the damage is sudden and unexpected.
Answer Applies to: Florida