Is the owner of a car park liable for a broken lamppost that has damaged my car? If so, what do I do

Hi folks, would be grateful for some advice.

I was parked in the car park of a Pets at Home store at around 4:30pm and when I went to pull away, the front of my car went into the end of part of a metal lampost, and the bumper was severely cracked (luckily I wasn't hurt and nothing mechanical was affected). The post was almost perpendicular to the ground (I've attached a photo), and so not visible from inside the car at all, not to mention it was almost dark by that point. The Pets at Home manager told me that the post had been damaged around a year ago by another driver.

Confusingly, t
he owners of the carpark are Travis Perkins (who no longer have a store there), who I have not yet contacted. I'd like to know if it seems they would be liable for the damage and if so, how could I get them to pay for the repairs, presumably via their public liability insurance (the repairs probably exceed the value of my car, which is why I've not yet made an insurance claim as I don't want them to write it off!). Any suggestions as to the best way to proceed here? Thank you!


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  • saker75
    saker75 Posts: 335
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    I imagine they will have notices around saying they are not liable for losses or damage whilst you are parked there. Whether that is wholly enforceable or not would likely be a matter for the courts. 
  • boxosox
    boxosox Posts: 60
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    edited 29 November 2023 at 2:37PM
    saker75 said:
    I imagine they will have notices around saying they are not liable for losses or damage whilst you are parked there. Whether that is wholly enforceable or not would likely be a matter for the courts. 
    Legally, those signs mean nothing.  

    In this case, I'd say the OP might have a case.  There doesn't appear to be any warning signs/reflective tape/cones etc.  I'd say the owner of the land has been negligent.

    But it also looks like that lamp post is on a part of the car park you shouldn't drive on, so not sure if that would be a defence for them.
  • uknick
    uknick Posts: 1,595
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    Looking at the picture, is the "block" paving where the lamp post is located meant for driving on?  And, I think you mean "horizontal" to the ground not "perpendicular".  Unless you knocked it down as shown in the picture.
  • CliveOfIndia
    CliveOfIndia Posts: 1,179
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    edited 29 November 2023 at 2:42PM
    The post was almost perpendicular to the ground
    How on earth could you have not seen it then?
    But I think you'd have a hard time getting anything out of the car park owners in any case.  Ultimately you collided with a stationary object, the fault lies with you (I don't mean that in a nasty way, I'm simply meaning how it would be viewed by an insurance company).

    the repairs probably exceed the value of my car

    That would imply that your car is reasonably old?  That being the case, the simplest option would be to hunt down a bumper from a scrapyard and replace it yourself.  If the collision occurred at "parking" speed (i.e. a couple of mph) then it's going to be cosmetic damage only, nothing structural.


  • uknick said:
    Looking at the picture, is the "block" paving where the lamp post is located meant for driving on?  And, I think you mean "horizontal" to the ground not "perpendicular".  Unless you knocked it down as shown in the picture.
    Yes, whoops, I mean horizontal! Someone else knocked it over way before me. I think you're probably right and the block paving isn't meant to be driven on, but the only thing to indicate that would've been.... the lamppost, when it was intact. Otherwise, when it's dark, you can't see the difference.
  • saker75
    saker75 Posts: 335
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    boxosox said:
    saker75 said:
    I imagine they will have notices around saying they are not liable for losses or damage whilst you are parked there. Whether that is wholly enforceable or not would likely be a matter for the courts. 
    Legally, those signs mean nothing.  

    In this case, I'd say the OP might have a case.  There doesn't appear to be any warning signs/reflective tape/cones etc.  I'd say the owner of the land has been negligent.

    But it also looks like that lamp post is on a part of the car park you shouldn't drive on, so not sure if that would be a defence for them.
    "A car park owner cannot in the absence of a special relationship be said to owe a duty of care to prevent the damage or theft of a car parked in its car park. A person who leaves his motor car in a car park cannot assume or assert against the car park proprietor any obligation to use reasonable care to look after the car. Such a car is therefore left in the car park entirely at the owner’s risk unless the car is delivered into the custody of the car park owner for his safekeeping"

    https://lival.co/news/posts-2/284-park-at-your-own-risk-who-is-responsible-for-the-damage-to-my-car 
  • The post was almost perpendicular to the ground
    How on earth could you have not seen it then?
    But I think you'd have a hard time getting anything out of the car park owners in any case.  Ultimately you collided with a stationary object, the fault lies with you (I don't mean that in a nasty way, I'm simply meaning how it would be viewed by an insurance company).

    the repairs probably exceed the value of my car

    That would imply that your car is reasonably old?  That being the case, the simplest option would be to hunt down a bumper from a scrapyard and replace it yourself.  If the collision occurred at "parking" speed (i.e. a couple of mph) then it's going to be cosmetic damage only, nothing structural.


    Thanks. Wouldn't the car park owner have a duty of care to keep all objects they own in a good/non-dangerous state? Not that I imagine they won't try and argue their way out of this...

    And yes, the car is c. 15 years old. If I do repair it myself, then does that affect the insurance somehow (I've not made a claim but I did report it).
  • Car_54
    Car_54 Posts: 8,108
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    saker75 said:
    boxosox said:
    saker75 said:
    I imagine they will have notices around saying they are not liable for losses or damage whilst you are parked there. Whether that is wholly enforceable or not would likely be a matter for the courts. 
    Legally, those signs mean nothing.  

    In this case, I'd say the OP might have a case.  There doesn't appear to be any warning signs/reflective tape/cones etc.  I'd say the owner of the land has been negligent.

    But it also looks like that lamp post is on a part of the car park you shouldn't drive on, so not sure if that would be a defence for them.
    "A car park owner cannot in the absence of a special relationship be said to owe a duty of care to prevent the damage or theft of a car parked in its car park. A person who leaves his motor car in a car park cannot assume or assert against the car park proprietor any obligation to use reasonable care to look after the car. Such a car is therefore left in the car park entirely at the owner’s risk unless the car is delivered into the custody of the car park owner for his safekeeping"

    https://lival.co/news/posts-2/284-park-at-your-own-risk-who-is-responsible-for-the-damage-to-my-car 
    From the link, the quoted text seems to be a summary of the legal position in Jamaica.

    So unless the OP's incident occurred in Jamaica (which I doubt), that advice is useless at best and gravely misleading at worst.



  • Wouldn't the car park owner have a duty of care to keep all objects they own in a good/non-dangerous state?
    Not in this situation.  There was nothing inherently dangerous about the lamp-post, and the counter-argument would be that you should have been more observant about your surroundings, drive with due care and attention, that sort of thing.  You hit a stationary object, it's your fault (again, not being nasty, just second-guessing what their insurance would say !).



    And yes, the car is c. 15 years old. If I do repair it myself, then does that affect the insurance somehow (I've not made a claim but I did report it).
    There would be no problems regarding insurance if you repaired it yourself - it's no different to touching up a scratch or a stone-chip with a can of spray paint.  It might be different if the structural integrity of a component had been compromised, but for purely cosmetic damage then you're free to deal with it yourself if you want to.  And if you feel that you don't have the skills/experience to replace the bumper yourself, if you have a local independent mechanic they should be able to fit it for you (they may even be able to source a second-hand one for you if they're really friendly :) )



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