It is dark, rainy and difficult to see out of your rearview mirror. As you get back up from a parking lot, you get a sudden shock as you accidentally reverse into a parked car. Oh no! has this ever happened to you? Here is what to do when you hit a parked car?
Many people get nervous when they hit a parked car, wondering what they should do. Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Packed parking lots and more frequent shopping trips mean an increase in fender benders and other car accidents, right around the corner of the busy holiday season. If you cause an accident and all parties involved are present, the rules on what to do are relatively simple.
But what about accidents that involve a parked car when the owner is nowhere to be seen?
If this happens to you then you need to know (and do) this.
What to do when you hit a parked car
Most state laws require all US drivers to follow a standard of “reasonable care”, which means acting in the same condition as any prudent driver. Each state sets its own specific legal requirements in vehicle codes and other traffic laws and regulations. It does not matter whether the accident is on a parking lot or on a public road.
While it is important to be aware of your local requirements, there are some common topics that help you understand what the law requires if you bump into a parked car and cannot find the owner of another vehicle. To ensure that you follow the law and protect yourself from additional claims, follow these steps: what to do when you hit a parked car.
What to do and what not to do legally after hitting a parked car:
What to do
Leave a note and / or call the police
Talk to witnesses
Inform your insurance company
Pay for damages (if mistake)
Contact a lawyer
What not to do
Don’t panic and leave the scene
Do not put yourself at risk of further injury by standing or waiting in a traffic area
Don’t forget to document the accident (take photos and video)
Do not accept mistakes or apologize
Keep calm and breathe
First stop your car and breathe. Make sure you are fine and no one is injured in your car. If you or someone else is hurt, call 911 immediately. If possible, take your car off the road and take it to a safe place nearby. Turn on your flashers to warn others to be careful as you will be getting out of your car. In what to do when you hit a parked car.
Your health and safety is the first priority.
Don’t hit and run
A hit and run accident occurs when a person collides with a person or another car (parked or in motion) and runs away from the accident site. Leaving the scene is considered a criminal offense. Depending on the state, hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony, for which fines, jail time, license points or all of these can be punished.
If you leave the scene, then a police officer can use evidence and surveillance cameras to identify, locate and arrest you. You will also face higher insurance rates or maybe an insurer does not even challenge you.
You can search for the owner but do not go too far. You definitely don’t want to get away from the scene. A “proper” attempt to find the owner of the vehicle may also be to ask eyewitnesses, passers-by or check inside a nearby store or restaurant.
Long story short: if you bump into a parked car, stop because it is the law.
Leave note/ message
When you hit a parked car, you are expected to make reasonable efforts to locate and notify the owner of the car. This effort often proves difficult, which is why many states have adopted the minimum requirement to leave a note with your information.
Pin the note under the wiper (in case of rain if you have a sandwich bag in a sandwich bag). This note helps you avoid the charge of hit and run. Don’t say anything in the note that puts you in a bad light or accept a mistake such as “Sorry I ruined your car” or “I’m such a bad driver.”
Some states determine the exact details to provide, but at least the note should contain yours:
A brief explanation of what happened
keep it simple.
Report this to the police
If there is any noticeable damage or injury, you should contact the police.
In addition, in some states, such as Florida and California, you are legally required to report any accident to the police as well as provide your information. In New York, if drivers are unable to exchange information, they should notify the police.
Penalties are more severe if an injury fails to report the accident to the authorities. For example, the state of Illinois charges a felony (other than aggravated) for fleeing an accident site and failing to report an injury within 30 minutes. In what to do when you hit a parked car
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Take photos and videos
Take as many photos as possible using your phone or camera. Include damage to other cars, their license plates and other views of the car. Take pictures of your car being damaged if you need to get it repaired through your insurance. Also, do not forget to take a photo or video of the note placed on the car. This visual evidence helps to record the exact condition of the cars after the accident and proves that you have complied with the law by leaving a note.
Talk to witnesses
Talk to any eyewitness. It helps to show that you have not run away from the scene and can reinforce your version of events. If you feel uncomfortable going to strangers, feel free to wait for the police and let them talk to witnesses.
Call your insurance company
Your insurance company is expected to receive notice of any accident, even though you were not able to locate the owner of the vehicle and left a note. This protects them and you, so make sure to call as soon as possible and let them know about the incident.
Consult a lawyer
While not legally required, we strongly recommend that you have a free consultation with a local car accident lawyer near you. Depending on the extent of the damage or whether you were at fault, talking to a personal injury lawyer can help reduce your liability and deal with the claim.
What to do if you are nervous and leave the accident site
In panic, people often make the grave mistake of colliding with a parked car and leaving the accident site. It is a hit and run, which is considered a criminal offense, and the owner may have up to 2 years to file a claim.
Luckily, there are ways you can fix the situation and clear your sanity.
First, how long ago was it? Did the accident just happen less than an hour ago? If you find the parked car is still there, go back and leave your contact information on the windshield.
If the car is no longer there, there are two main ways you can handle it:
The best option is to talk to a lawyer immediately about representing you. They can help communicate with the police on your behalf and protect you from accidentally making offensive comments. Your lawyer will help you present your version of events in the best possible light. In what to do when you hit a parked car.
The second (and more intimidating) option is to contact the police. be honest. Tell them that you are nervous and don’t know what to do. Let them know that you have made a mistake and that you are calling to report it. Answer all the questions and tell them any identifying information you can remember about the other car (license plate, model, color, etc.).
The police have to work within the law, but chances are they will appreciate that you want to do the right thing. They can check to see if a report was filed by the owner; If there is no one, they cannot take it further. If there are, it is better that they reach out to you instead of looking for you. what to do when you hit a parked car.
Was the accident your fault?
If the car you hit was parked, you will likely be deemed “at fault” for the accident. The only exception to this rule is if the accident was out of your control (for example you missed a pedestrian) or if the car was parked illegally. In such cases, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your liability with the help of a lawyer. what to do when you hit a parked car.
The driver at fault will be responsible for paying for the loss of the other vehicle owner. This is usually controlled through your auto insurance. You are not legally obliged to repair your car, unless it is unsafe on the road.
Will your insurance increase when you hit a parked car?
If you are at fault, the short answer is probably. Ultimately, however, it will depend on your insurer, your insurance policy, the level of damage and if you have previously filed a claim. Some insurers have “accident forgiveness”, which allows for single fault collisions without an increase in rates.
Should you get out of pocket? It is worth noting that most insurers ask you to report any accident within a reasonable time. It protects both them and you. However, to avoid inflated rates, people sometimes choose to compromise with another driver out of their pocket, but there are some risks involved.what to do when you hit a parked car.
Ultimately, only you can decide what risks you are willing to take.
Above all, try not to beat yourself.
Everyone makes mistakes and many do it. In the words of the poet Alexander Pope: “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
What if your car is hit?
If someone kills your car in the parking lot, you may be able to track down the person who killed you if there is a witness or video footage. If you did not find, you may be stuck with a repair bill. The accident may not be against you, but you may have to pay a deductible to cover the damage to your vehicle. Contact the local police to file a report, and contact your agent to see if the accident will be covered.Also Record evidence.
Take damage pictures with your phone or camera if you have one. Take deep notes. If the other driver is still around, write his name, address, phone number, driving license number and insurance company. Collect as much information as possible. what to do when you hit a parked car.
Whether it is a fender bender or something more serious, correct coverage can make all the difference when you are in an accident. Contact your Farm Bureau agent to review your auto insurance and make sure you are ready and driving. what to do when you hit a parked car.
What to do if you see an accident in the parking lot
Provide support. If the culprit driver is gone, help the other driver document the damage. Give your contact information to the driver, if his insurance agent or police need to contact you for further comment.
To assist in parking, more and more assistive-driving facilities are being introduced. But these technologies may not drive for you – it is still important to be vigilant behind the wheel. Learn how to be a smart driver with these defensive driving tips.
Thats all about what to do when you hit a parked car. Thanks for reading.
Will my insurance increase if I hit a parked car?
Ans for question will my insurance rates go up if someone hits my parked car? If you file a claim with their insurance company then your rates will not increase after your parked car is hit by someone. Whenever you file a claim, some insurance providers will raise your rates, no matter what the mistake.
What to do if you scratch a parked car?
If it is more than a scratch, you should probably file a police report. While most law enforcement will not actually physically arrive at the scene, they can still seek your information to report the accident. You can also find a security guard who patrols the parking lot and writes an incident report from them.
What if you bump into a parked car and there is no damage?
If you collide with another abandoned vehicle, even if no damage has been done, the right thing is to stop and leave a note with your contact information. You may assume that there is no harm, but you might not see it.
What do you do if you bump into a parked car and the owner cannot be found?
If you bump into a parked vehicle or other property, try to find the owner. Identify yourself before leaving. If you cannot find the owner, leave a note in the vehicle with your name and address (and the vehicle owner’s name and address) or attach it securely.