I parked my car in a parking lot that charges by the hour and by the day. When I picked my car up, I saw that part of it was stolen. The car was photographed automatically entering and exiting the lot, so I can prove this, and I reported it to the police.
Predictably, the lot operator is relying on the disclaimer on the back of the ticket, which purports to absolve the operator of any liability for theft or damage.
Virginia Code section § 46.2-1234 absolves from liability persons who provide parking without charge, but is silent as to the liability of those who charge for parking. Is there any authority on whether (a) the disclaimer on the ticket is valid, (b) whether paying for parking creates a bailment, or (c) whether negligence is shown when a lot operator does not adequately secure or patrol its lot?
1 Answer from Attorneys
If there was no relevant code citation referenced on the back of your parking receipt absolving the
lot owner/operator of liability for your loss, then your best remedy is probably to sue this person or
entity in your local small claims court for the redress that you believe you're owed for your loss
if it is significant. (The type of disclaimer of liability which you've described is pretty much standard
language for these kinds of operations but which in no way accurately describes the operator's
possible legal responsibility for a patron's loss who has actually paid for his or
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