There's nothing worse than that sinking feeling when you're walking through the parking lot and see damage to your parked car. Even though your anger may bubble to the surface, you should remain calm and try to go into recovery mode in order to figure out what to do. There are a few items you should think about when handling this situation.
How Should I Handle the Situation?
Here are a few ideas on how you should handle being hit when your car is parked. You might consider taking the following five steps when you find out that someone has hit your parked car:
1. Call the Police
Call the police as soon as you find the damage to your parked car. The responding police officer will inspect the scene, document the incident, and create and file an accident report. Your lawyer or insurance company will use the police report for various purposes as you seek compensation.
2. Notify Your Insurance Company
Once you've called the police, you need to call your insurance company. You may be asked to briefly describe the damage with a follow-up phone call to provide more in-depth information once the police report is finalized. You will need to send your insurance company the police report to prove damages, location of the accident, parties involved, etc.
3. Document the Accident
Take pictures and videos of your car, road conditions, weather conditions, car location, parking area, etc. Be sure to state any previous damage to the car that wasn't due to the accident.
Next, look for witnesses and security cameras as they can give you a better understanding of what happened. Security cameras can be better than a witness statement since you can present them as evidence if need be. The evidence you gather at this stage may be vital in seeking compensation for the damage.
4. Don't Leave the Scene or Move Your Car
The scene should remain untouched until adequate information is derived from the scene. The police need this information when making the report, and the insurance company will need to understand what happened before covering damages.
Make sure the scene isn't tampered with and, most importantly, don't move your car and advise the other party to do the same. Only after the scene has been released can you move your car and leave.
5. Contact a Lawyer
Our final suggestion is to contact a lawyer. As you begin to file paperwork with your insurance company or the at-fault party's insurance company, you may encounter roadblocks to receiving compensation. A lawyer can help you cut through the red tape and get you a step closer to resolution.
What If My Parked Car Was Involved in a Hit-and-Run?
It's considered a crime when someone hits your car and decides to flee the scene without leaving any information. If this happens to you, you should take measures to identify the person:
- Ask the people around your car if they saw anything or know what happened. They might have useful information, such as the offending car's color, the plate number, or they might have gotten a chance to see the person and where they went after fleeing the scene.
- Check for information on nearby security camera footage. It may be hard to identify everything from the footage, but at least you can use it to guide the police in identifying the person who hit your car.
What If They Left a Note?
When someone hits your car and chooses to leave a note, it isn't considered a crime. In this case, the person might be in a hurry or have an emergency causing them to leave before you return to your car. In the note, the person should leave behind their contact information and insurance information so that you can contact them for further follow-up.
File a Claim Under My Insurance Policy vs. the Other Party's Insurance Policy
You should file the claim under the other driver's insurance policy and not yours. Your insurance rate will increase when you file the insurance claim under your policy. If the claim is filed under the other party, most likely your rate won't increase.
Unfortunately, this can be a difficult question to answer if the other party is never identified. Your attorney can offer more guidance on options you can take to seek compensation for the damages to your car.
Call the Dolman Law Group
When you discover your parked car has been hit; first call the police, followed by contacting your insurance company and then reach out to the Dolman Law Group. Our car accident attorneys can guide you on the next steps for your case. Contact us today for your free case review.