What to do When a Vehicle Crashes into a Building

Posted by Russell West | Jul 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

Recently, for the second time in under a year, a motor vehicle crashed through the front windows of the South Hill YMCA. While shaken, the driver of the car was able to walk away from the accident unharmed. When questioned by law enforcement, she revealed that she had mistaken the gas pedal for the brake while attempting to park in front of the windows. 

Approximately 30 people were engaged in a workout session at the time that the collision occurred. Due to the accident, two individuals were taken to a nearby medical facility. 

Statistics compiled by the Washington Police reveal that in 2016 there were 843 motor vehicle accidents in which an automobile struck an apartment building, business location, house, or other type of building in the state. On a national level, there are 20,000 vehicles that crash into the buildings each year in the United States, which equates to 50 or 60 accidents a day. 

If you are involved in one of these accidents, it can help to understand some of the applicable issues involved. 

Liability Issues for Business Owners

While you might not have been aware of the rate with which these accidents occur, many building owners are well aware of the risk. It is even common for buildings that lack adequate safety mechanisms to be struck several times by vehicles. 

The Storefront Safety Council has expressed the perspective that business owners should take adequate steps to protect their customers from the risk of these accidents. Some of the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of these accidents include:

  • Arranging parking spaces so vehicles are pointed away from buildings and pedestrians
  • Finding alternatives to standard car stops, which are not effective barriers
  • Taking steps to make vehicles reduce their speeds to provide pedestrians with adequate time to respond and either avoid the accident entirely or limit the amount of resulting damage
  • Installing barriers including planters and posts to prevent vehicles from crashing into buildings
  • Using bollards and guardrails to make sure that pedestrians and vehicles are separated

Insurance Issues

After accidents involving buildings, the responsible driver's motor vehicle insurance is often used to pay for the resulting damage. In many cases, when cars crash into homes, a person's homeowner's insurance pays for any damage to the home that surpasses the responsible driver's automobile insurance coverage. Many homeowners' policies explicitly protect a policyholder for damages caused to dwellings as well as connected structures. 

Given the risk of this happening, many people find it a wise idea to review the terms of their homeowners' policy in advance to make sure that compensation for this kind of damage is included. 

Speak with an Experienced Accident Attorney

The aftermath of accidents can be overwhelming. If you need the assistance of an experienced accident attorney, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact West Law Office today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

About the Author

Russell West

Russell West from West Law Office, located in Spokane, Washington represents clients in areas of criminal traffic, misdemeanors, and personal injury. DUI’s, Reckless Driving, Negligent driving, Hit and Run, and Driving with Suspended license are the majority of criminal traffic violations. Drug Charges, Theft, and Domestic Violence account for most of the other criminal cases Russell handles.

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Spokane Attorney Russell West practice areas include: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Motorcycle Accidents, Slip and Falls, DUIs, DOL Hearings, Criminal Traffic, Expungement/Vacating Records, and Insurance Bad Faith,

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