Do the Police Have Jurisdiction Over Private Property Accidents?

The vast majority of vehicle accidents that occur must be reported to the police, but what about accidents that occur on private property? These incidents can result in challenges when determining liability, and an accident report completed by a law enforcement officer can help. Here, we want to review what authority the police have over vehicle accidents that occur on private property.

A Police Motorcycle Parked Behind a Tow Truck

Contact the Police Anyway

If you have been in a car accident on private property, we encourage you to call law enforcement officials anyway. Oregon law requires that vehicle accidents be reported to the DMV within 72 hours if the following occurs:

  • At least $2,500 worth of damage to any vehicle involved
  • Any vehicle was towed from the scene of the incident
  • There were any injuries or a fatality
  • Damage to any property other than a vehicle worth more than $2,500

However, be aware that certain jurisdictions may not be particularly eager to come to private property to fill out an accident report. If the police do not come to the scene to fill out an accident report, individuals should still go to the Oregon Department of Transportation website and fill out the accident report within 72 hours. Failing to do so could result in a license suspension.

If the police do come to the scene, they can fill out the much-needed accident report. Most insurance carriers will push back on paying for a claim on private property if they do not have a police report available.

Report the Incident to the Property Owner

Vehicle accidents on private property should also be reported to the property owner. It may be difficult to locate a property owner, but accident victims should do their best to do so. There may be specific liability insurance available for that particular area that victims are unaware of, and reporting the incident could trigger the insurance claims process.

Who is Responsible for Private Property Accidents

There may be various parties who could hold liability after an accidental private property. This includes the drivers involved as well as the private property owner, particularly if a condition on their property led to the accident occurring. For example, if the accident occurred in a private parking garage, but the garage was poorly designed to create overly large blind spots, the garage owner could be held responsible.

It is not uncommon for property owners to become involved in a vehicle accident on their premises soon after the incident occurs. However, we strongly suggest that any person injured in a vehicle accident on another person’s property reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible.

A car accident lawyer in Portland can get involved and handle every aspect of the claim. The complexities involved with private property accidents are enhanced by the simple fact that there could be a liable property owner and separate insurance carriers involved. An attorney can sort through all the possible liable parties and carriers and help their client recover the compensation they need.

Ultimately, car accident victims of private property may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering losses.