Visitor Question

Grate in parking space moved and damaged front end of my car…

Submitted By: Anthony (West Palm Beach, Florida)

I was leaving an establishment and had parked in a space in the lot on top of a grate that covers utility lines.

This area was not blocked off and people park in the same spot all the time.

When I was leaving, the grate and/or slap covering the utility lines shifted and then raised up and tore my front bumper apart. I called the property manager and he said he is not responsible.

Who is responsible for this? How do I go about getting compensation for the damage to my vehicle? What should I do besides take pictures? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anthony,

You were right to take photos of the damage to your bumper. Hopefully you were able to also take photos of the grate. It’s important to collect all available evidence.

Taking witness statements would also be helpful. Don’t worry about the formality of a witness statement. Just ask witnesses to write down what they saw and have them sign and date their statements at the bottom of each page. Be sure to get the witnesses’ contact information, especially their telephone number, residential address, and email address.

The City of West Palm Beach has an information and assistance hotline: (561) 822-2222 Call the number and they will refer you to the department that handles compensation claims.

You can also contact the West Palm Public Utilities Department. You should be directed to the department responsible for property damage claims caused by the city and its employees.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 20, 2016

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