| Added On February 5, 2010
Parking the car with a valet is a convenient option in large urban areas or at upscale restaurants and resorts. Even local hospitals have valet parking, to make it easy for the patients to have access to the front door to drop off and pick up people leaving the facility.
There are times that the valet is inexperienced or is not careful with parking the car. In this case, the valet will be responsible for any damages to the vehicle. The person who owns the car will most likely be able to recover damages from the valet’s employer, since the valet is representing the employer when he parks the car.
When this incident occurs, it is important to call the police and talk to the manager wherever the valet service is offered to inform them of the loss. There may be issues with the particular valet who was assigned to park the vehicle involved in the loss. If the valet does not have a valid driver’s license, or if his or her driver’s license was recently revoked, or if the valet is inexperienced in parking different types of cars, trucks or foreign models, this is an issue for the employer to handle with the owner’s attorney. These are issues that may point the blame for the negligence of the valet back at the business owner, and it will certainly deserve an investigation.
There might be times that the valet is reckless with the cars being parked. When valets are hired, the business hiring them should have explained that the cars being parked are under the care and control of the valet, and that they should use care to park all cars that they are assigned. There are definite legal rules as to how these types of claims need to be handled and managed. If the valet works for a service that is contracted by the business, then the owner of that business will most likely become involved in settlement for damages to the car that was damaged.
If the valet claims to have been injured by an owner’s car, then there will need to be an investigation as well, regarding what happened with the owner’s car while the person was in the business or hotel. In this case, there may have been the situation of one valet parking the car, and another walking in front or behind it, sustaining a loss or injury. There may have been the situation of the valet driving the car too fast, and hitting another valet or a completely unrelated pedestrian at the scene. Or, a valet may have tried to park a car in an area that was too narrow for the car, and scratched, dinged or otherwise damaged a second, third or fourth car while trying to fit the car into the parking area.
I remember once, years ago, going into Manhattan and having my car valet parked at a downtown parking garage. I was quite surprised at how close these cars were parked. They were literally packed like sardines in that ground level corner parking lot. When I went up to the valet shack to get my keys, the valet told me, “you wait right here, I’ll go get your car.” I remember vividly that he deftly moved several cars around the lot, and sure enough, here he was coming with my car. I recall, I stepped forward to greet him as he pulled up to the valet shack. This guy actually stopped the car, got out of the driver’s seat and yelled out to me, “I told you to stay right there, now you go back where I told you to stand!” I was flabbergasted. They had strict rules that car owners were NOT to be wandering around the lot, getting hit by their cars, and I had committed a violation of his rules by walking across the area towards my car when he was moving towards me. I apologized for my actions, and gave him a big tip. But I learned a valuable lesson in the process.
If you are injured as a result of an accident with a valet, you should call us to discuss any issues regarding this type of case. Call us at Ledger & Associates at 1-800-300-0001 or email us at www.ledgerlaw.com.