JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ascension St. Vincent’s started the process Tuesday of removing cars from its partially collapsed parking garage in Riverside.
Crews used a remote-controlled rig to take cars out, from there they are towed away from the property to another lot.
A representative told Action News Jax it will start on the ground floor “while maintaining limited access to the site. Access to the parking garage remains restricted by the city.”
An attorney with Farah & Farah said owners of these cars are owed the full price of renting a similar car for the length of time it’s trapped inside. It’s called a “loss of use claim” in Florida.
“Remember it doesn’t matter whether you actually rent a similar vehicle or not. You’re still entitled to the cost of the same vehicle you have,” Khalil Farah said. “St. Vincent’s is obligated to pull out any vehicle safely so if anything happens, it’s really on them.”
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He recommended owners should check for damage immediately when they get to their vehicle after it is towed out and document it. Farah said your insurance company can go after St. Vincent’s for the full cost of any repairs.
“It’s a tough situation because it’s sort of a gray area. This isn’t a natural disaster. But it is something that happened on their property. And they’re responsible for it because it is their garage.”
During last week’s press conference, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue pointed out that it is not the city’s responsibility to inspect or maintain privately owned garages. A representative said that is the responsibility of the owner and it’s not something city officials plan on changing even after the collapse.
A city spokesperson said there’s a total of seven garages owned by the city and a majority of them are downtown:
- 541 Water Street
- 214 N Hogan Street
- 200 E Adams Street
- 33 W Duval Street
- 112 E Bay Street
According to the city’s inspections page, there were at least 115 permits issued for parking garages since 2001. That includes apartments, malls, and hospitals which are all privately owned.