Picture a pleasant, sunny summer day. You’re sitting on your front porch, drinking iced tea and watching your son ride his bicycle down the street. He suddenly loses his balance and rides his bike right into the side of a parked car. What’s a parent to do?
Obviously, first of all you’ll want to make sure that your son is okay. He may be more embarrassed than anything else, but may also be bumped and bruised. If the impact caused him to fall off his bike, check for broken bones and serious cuts. Take him to the doctor right away if you suspect there may be a head injury.
Survey the damage done to the car, write down the license plate number, and take photographs. Fortunately nowadays most people have phones with cameras, so it’s very convenient to document such incidents. If possible, leave the bike where it landed, and take several photographs of the bicycle relative to the car. Be sure to show the damage from several angles, and take several wide-angle photographs to show exactly how and where the car was parked. Take photos of any other damage that the car may have from previous accidents, so that you are not held responsible for other damage.
Assuming your child is a minor and the damage to the car is minimal as well, this can be a valuable opportunity to teach your child about taking responsibility for his actions and doing the right thing. Walk with him to the nearest house or building to find the owner of the car. If the owner cannot be located, leave a note with your telephone number and depending on your child’s age, his name and/or yours.
Offer to Pay for Damages
When you talk with the owner, offer to pay for the damages. You can work out a plan later with your child to repay you. If the damage is relatively minor, such as a small scratch or dent, a broken window, or a displaced side mirror, you could offer to pay for the damages out-of-pocket. Ask the owner to get several written estimates, and tell him you will pay the lowest or an average of the estimates.
Once the amount is agreed upon, give the car’s owner a check, along with a signed, written letter. It should include a description of the incident and damages, the amount paid, and another sincere apology for the accident. Ask the car’s owner to sign the letter signifying their acceptance of the payment, and keep a copy of the letter for your records.
If the damage is more than you can afford to pay out-of-pocket, check your homeowner’s insurance to see if this sort of damage is covered. Although the car’s owner likely will not want to file a claim against his car insurance policy for minor damage and risk an increase in his premium, it is possible, and you could offer to pay his deductible. His insurance company may also attempt to collect payment from you for the damages they covered, called subrogation.
Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
In the event that the damage to the parked car is major, your child may also have suffered injuries from the accident. It would be prudent to discuss your case with an attorney who is experienced dealing with car-bicycle collisions as well as insurance companies. The team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can investigate the incident and determine whether the accident could have been caused by a mechanical malfunction of the bicycle, or whether illegal parking could have contributed to the accident. Call today to speak with a member of the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 727-451-6900.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.