Las Vegas Valet Liability and Theft Explained
Las Vegas valet parking may be an invaluable service, but do you know what risks valet services carry? When you allow a valet to park your car, you’re handing over the keys – to what’s likely the most valuable thing you own besides your house – to a complete stranger. We assume the valet is honorable and won’t let any harm befall your vehicle, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. So what are the rules regarding Las Vegas valet liability and how can one protect their belongings?
Why Is Valet Theft so Prominent?
Valets often make well below minimum wage, since they are employees who receive tips. However, valets cannot count on receiving tips from every driver, since tipping is not mandatory. Having unsupervised access to expensive GPS systems, personal belongings, and luxurious vehicles every day can tempt many valet workers to commit theft – to fill a wage gap or try to get away with grand theft auto.
Theft is not the only thing drivers have to worry about when they choose valet services. Valet drivers can also scratch, damage, and crash vehicles. Valet workers are only human and can make mistakes just as any other driver can. However, when a valet makes a mistake in someone else’s vehicle, the vehicle’s owner can collect compensation. If a valet driver loses your keys, steals your personal items, or harms your vehicle, you can hold him or her responsible for damages.
Who Is Responsible for Valet Theft?
In Nevada, the person driving the vehicle at the time of damage is responsible for repairs. Based on this liability law, the courts would hold the valet worker responsible. However, since the valet works for a company, you could also hold the company liable. Contractors working for a restaurant, hotel, or other establishment usually provide valet services. When a valet worker steals belongings, damages a car, or is guilty of grand theft auto, the courts can hold the entire contracting company responsible for paying for repairs.
Unfortunately, proving fault against a valet company can be difficult. It’s often hard to find evidence that your items were stolen and that vehicle damage did not exist before you handed your keys to the valet. Some people make false claims against valets just to receive financial compensation for lost items or to have repairs made to their vehicles at no cost to them. Due to the propensity for false claims, the courts have to be stringent with how legitimate claims are determined.
Can I File a Claim Against a Valet Company?
You may also notice a sign posted at the valet station stating that the establishment is not responsible for any damage to your vehicle. It can legally evade this responsibility since it’s the contractor, not the establishment, that’s in charge of people’s vehicles. Just because you see this sign does not mean you don’t have a case against someone for criminal activity or negligence.
You should still proceed to file a report against the valet company.
Valets are responsible for the due care of your vehicle while it’s in their possession. If a valet damages your vehicle or steals anything, the courts will hold the company responsible for recovery payments. If, however, the damages were due to a freak accident such as a falling tree limb, you could not hold the valet responsible. Damages must be the direct result of a valet’s negligence or criminal activity.
If you need help securing compensation for your stolen or damaged vehicle or belongings stolen from your vehicle, contact De Castroverde Law Group in Las Vegas. We understand the legal obligations valets and valet companies have to their clients, and can help you win your case against them. We’ll conduct an investigation into the valet company on your behalf and seek justice until those responsible pay for valet-caused damages.