7 Steps to Take if You Hit a Parked Car

by Automotive 27 April 2019

Parked Car

It could happen anytime you’re in a parking lot or on a street lined with cars. Even though it can feel like the sky is falling when you hear that unmistakable crunch as you hit a parked car, it’s not the end of the world. The main thing is not to panic — and never, ever leave the scene.

If you do happen to leave, you need to admit your fault as soon as possible. It’s better to backtrack and admit what you did than risk getting caught and arrested later. According to Denver hit and run lawyer, Matthew Hand, “Leaving the scene of a parking lot fender bender is a serious charge, but it is not always the moral failure that prosecutors make it out to be.” Here are the steps to take if you hit a parked car:

1. Stay at the Scene:

Leaving the scene after you’ve had an accident — even with a parked car — is against the law. If you do leave, you could be charged with hit-and-run. Consequences for a hit-and-run can range from a misdemeanor charge to an expensive fine to suspension of your license — or even jail time.

Even if you’re tempted to leave the scene, don’t. Many businesses have surveillance cameras pointing toward the parking lot. And, if there are people around, someone might have seen the accident occur. It’s likely that you will eventually get caught.

2. Take Pictures for Evidence:

To protect yourself, take pictures of the damage to your car and the car you hit, as well as the license plates on each car to prove that the pictures are valid. Also make note of the make and model of the car, so that you’ll have evidence of the car that was involved in the accident.

Also, take note of weather conditions and whether there were any hazards in the area that might have interfered with your ability to drive your car, including how the car was parked.

3. Look for Nearby Witnesses:

Even when you are at fault in a parking lot accident, it’s important to have someone who can corroborate your side of the story or confirm what damage was done. Ask for the person’s contact information and write down their comments about what they saw. If the statement is written, ask if they will sign and date it. If you have a smartphone, you can even video their response. Have the person state their name, the date and the time at the beginning of the video.

4. Leave a Note:

If you end up waiting a long time and no one comes, you can leave a note. Include your name, address, contact details and a brief explanation of what happened, such as “I hit your car when I was backing up in the parking lot.” Don’t add any more detail than necessary because the note can be used against you by the person’s insurance company.  You can also leave your insurance information because you would provide it to the person under normal circumstances. Put the note in a secure and visible location, such as under the windshield wiper, where the driver will see it.

5. Contact the Police:

State law varies, but if you caused major damage to the other person’s car, you should call the police. In some states, police will come out and make a report, but they will not get involved in the collision happened in a parking lot. If you don’t know your state’s laws about colliding with a parked car, it’s better to be safe than sorry: Call the police. You can even call the police if the driver doesn’t come back in a reasonable amount of time to ask what you should do.

6. Contact Your Insurance Company:

Because you are at fault for the accident, you’ll need to contact your insurance company as soon as you can to report what happened. If you left a note for the driver, let the insurance company know. You should also disclose what you wrote in the note. Your insurance company may or may not raise your policy’s rates as a result of the accident. It depends on a variety of factors, such as whether you make an effort to stay safe on the road or if you’ve made multiple claims or received speeding tickets or other violations recently.

 7. Consult With an Attorney:

If the damage was considerable and the other driver was unreasonably upset, you may want to consider consulting with an experienced auto insurance attorney. If the insured decides to sue you, you’ll want to have someone with legal expertise in your corner.

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Mashum Mollah is the feature writer of Search Engine Magazine and an SEO Analyst at Real Wealth Business. Over the last 3 years, He has successfully developed and implemented online marketing, SEO, and conversion campaigns for 50+ businesses of all sizes. He is the co-founder of Social Media Magazine.

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