What Should I Do if I Hit a Parked Car?
Getting into a car accident can be a difficult experience, regardless of how minor the damage was. For instance, you may think hitting a parked car is a complicated process, but it does not have to be. Even if there are no injuries and the damage sustained was minimal, it is always best to follow these steps, and to treat a parked car accident like any road accident.
- Do not leave the scene. If you hit a parked car, do not leave the scene. Leaving the scene is a criminal act in some states, and you will likely be charged with a hit and run if you get caught. Many parking lots nowadays have security cameras to identify you, as well as there are likely witnesses in the area that saw you. It is certainly not worth being charged for a hit and run, so stay at the scene.
- Find the owner. Do your best to track down the owner of the vehicle. You can wait to see if the owner returns to their car, or you could look for them yourself. If the accident happened outside of a business, go in and inform their customer service. Perhaps they can make an announcement of the vehicle’s description as well.
- Leave a note. If you have not been able to track down the owner of the car, the next thing you should do is to leave a note on their car, preferably under their driver side windshield wiper so they can see it when they return. The notes should contain the following:
- Your name.
- Your address.
- Contact information, including phone number and email, if possible.
- Explanation of accident.
- Finally, you should leave the information of the owner of the vehicle if it is not you.
- Take photos. Take pictures of the accident, including the damage your car sustained as well as theirs. Furthermore, take a photo of the vehicle’s license plate and the scene itself; these photos may be helpful in any insurance or legal claim.
- Find witnesses. It may be possible that someone witnessed the accident, so get their contact information and their account of the events as well.
- Contact your insurance company. Call your insurance company and inform them of what had happened as soon as you can. Talk to your agent if there is any other information they need while you gather as much information as you can. Depending on your coverage, your collision coverage will cover the damages to your car, and the property damage liability coverage will likely cover the parked vehicle. Your agent will likely go over all of this with you, as well as tell you about your deductible. It is very likely that your insurance rates will go up, as it will be viewed as an at-fault accident, but that depends on your insurance company.
- Contact the police. Regardless of how severe the damage is, it is always a good idea to contact the police following an accident. The police can detail the accident with a third-party perspective and will fill out a police report. The police may even help you get in touch with the driver of the parked car if you have not been able to do so.
- Get legal help. Finally, if you have any legal questions and do not know who else to contact, it is in your best interest to speak to a car accident lawyer about your rights. They may even be able to help you answer any other questions you may have.
There are a few steps if the scenario was reverse, if it was your parked car that was hit. Contact your insurance agent and let them know what happened, and whether the offending driver left a note. Record as much of the accident as you can. If the other driver is still around, be sure to get their contact information, address, driver’s license number, and insurance company information.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients after Their Accident
Any car accident can get complex quickly, particularly if you do not have the right help. If you or a loved one has been involved or injured in an accident, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced legal team will be your advocate and will fight to protect your rights. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.