Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left, What Do I Do?
You're spending a relaxing Friday evening at a shopping center with your friend. Things were going great until you find your car in a parking garage with broken taillight and damaged bumper. It turns out, someone hit your parked car and left. What do you do now? Here are some tips and information on how to handle a hit and run accident.
Hit and Run Accidents
A hit and run accident occurs when someone leaves the accident scene without stopping to fulfill the duties imposed by law. When a driver hits a parked car, he or she is required to make a reasonable effort to identify the owner of the vehicle and leave a written notice. Every state has its own traffic laws covering hit and run accidents. If someone has hit your parked car, stay at the scene and gather as much information as you can.
Things To Do Immediately At the Scene
As soon as you find your vehicle damaged, follow the below steps to preserve evidence and protect your rights:
- Stay at the scene: It may be tempting to immediately drive off to catch the person who hit your car. However, you may lose important evidence by leaving the accident scene. So, don't leave the scene until you have gathered all necessary information.
- Talk to any witnesses: Look around for any witnesses and get their names and contact information.
- Call the police: Some states require you to file a police report, even if there is a written note by the other driver. The official police report can be used to preserve any evidence found at the scene.
- Record the time and location: Make a note of the time and location of the accident.
- Take accident photos: You should take photos of the accident scene. Get multiple pictures from various angles, including general views and close-ups. If there's evidence of the other car's painting or marks, take a close-up photo of that as well.
- Contact your insurance company: You should notify your insurance company that you've been in an accident. By contacting them as soon as possible, you can help expedite your claims process.
File a Claim: Handling a Hit and Run Accident
If you're able to identify the driver who hit your car, get his or her insurance company information. You should then file a third-party claim with his or her insurance company. This way, you will be able to recover damages under the other driver's coverage.
If you're unable to find the person who hit your car, you'll have to file a claim with your own insurance company. Generally, uninsured motorist coverage compensates drivers for hit and run accident. However, not all states require you to have uninsured motorist coverage. It's important that you check with your insurance company to find out which type of coverage will cover you for hit and run accidents.
Someone Hit Your Parked Car and Left? Consult with a Lawyer
Even if the driver took off after hitting your car, you can recover damages as long as you follow the proper procedures. Speak with an experienced car accident attorney who will be able to guide you through the claims process to maximize the amount of damages you recover.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.