Here’s What to Do If You Hit A Parked Car
Over 50,000 crashes occur in parking structures and lots each year. Of those collisions, more than 500 result in death. Parking lot wrecks also account for more than 60,000 injuries annually. Therefore, please do not feel too embarrassed about crashing into a parked vehicle; it happens. Now that it happened, you need to take the appropriate steps to resolve the situation without causing further harm or legal complications. If involved in a car accident in parking lot, adhere to the following nine steps.
1) Ensure Everyone Is Safe
The primary concern following any accident is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. You want to check your body for signs of bleeding, bruising or breaks. If you are OK, check on your passengers. Finally, if you can move and everyone is alright, get out of your vehicle and check the car you hit, ensuring it is indeed empty. If anyone is bleeding or complaining about odd aches and pains, call 911.
2) Do Not Leave the Scene
After you crash, it is natural to experience a rush of adrenaline and anxiety. You may even feel the urge to flee the scene when you see no one was in the other car, but do not move. Stay at the scene. If you leave, you risk further legal action for a hit-and-run. Accidents happen and can be forgiven, but running away from the incident only makes matters worse. As the at-fault party, you have a responsibility to notify the owner of the vehicle.
3) Try To Locate the Vehicle Owner
If the owner does not make themselves known immediately, you need to try and locate them. Safely park your vehicle and enter the property nearest the parking lot. If it is a business, ask the receptionist if they know the owner of the car. If it is a shopping center or mall, ask the manager to announce the vehicle description and license plate over the PA system. Do your best to locate the owner.
4) Leave a Note When Necessary
If you cannot locate the owner after giving it a valiant effort, leave a note with your contact information on the vehicle. Make sure to let people know that is what you are doing, so you cannot be accused of fleeing the scene later. Remember, most parking lots and structures now have security cameras, so there is no avoiding responsibility. You will also want to offer several ways for the victim to contact you, making it easy to resolve the issue and exchange insurance details.
5) Look for Witnesses
Regardless of if you find the vehicle owner, try to locate any witnesses to the accident. You want to ask for their contact information so that you can verify your assessment of the accident. Also, having witness information can protect you from illegitimate allegations, like leaving the scene without trying to locate the owner of the car. Everything you do following the accident is about protecting yourself and taking responsibility.
6) Collect Necessary Information
If you do find the owner of the vehicle, you want to collect the necessary information to file with your insurance. You will need the person’s name, insurance, policy number, car registration, address and phone number. All these details are necessary for accurate insurance reporting, regardless of fault. You will also want to have as much of this information as possible when filing a police report.
7) Take Pictures of the Damage
If you have a smart device or phone that allows you to take pictures, then document the scene. You want to photograph both vehicles, ensuring that all damage is visible. It is also wise to make a list of all the visible damage and compare notes with the other driver. If you are lucky, the accident will result in no visible damage, but if there are dents and scratches, photographing them means you will not fall victim to altered damage reports later.
8) Call Your Insurer
You will also want to call your insurer and report the accident. Early contact with your insurance agent means they can get the ball rolling on any necessary claim forms, and it means they will be on the lookout for any incoming incident reports from other agencies.
9) Call Police, If Necessary
You will not always need to call the police to an accident scene, especially if damages appear to be less than $500. However, when damage is extensive, or if injuries are severe, then calling the police or emergency services to the scene is essential. Also, when police are called to an accident scene, they will make an official report, which may make filing an insurance claim easier.
While you may be concerned about the damage to the other vehicle, what does your car look like after the accident? Is the auto body in need of repair? If so, contact Tachoir Auto Body.