You’d think your car is safe parked in a parking lot or on the side of the road in a designated parking spot, right? Well… not always.
Imagine coming out of the gym and walking to your car only to notice one of your back taillights smashed in. You look around for any explanation, but no one is in sight.
Someone may have accidentally hit your car, and the person that hit you may have waited around for you to return to your vehicle or may have left a note. Or maybe someone hit you accidentally and took off for some reason. This would be classified as a hit and run. Hit and runs can happen because someone is uninsured and scared of what the damage will cost them out of pocket. Or maybe they have a high accident record and could lose their license if they are part of one more accident against them.
Do you know what steps to take next, no matter how you were hit or who hit your vehicle? Do you call the police or hire an attorney first? Let’s find out.
Possible Reasons for a Parked Car Accident
Although there may be all kinds of reasons for someone to hit your parked car, some of the most common causes may include:
- A driver misjudges the length of their car or the parked car – This can easily happen, especially when the driver is driving a new vehicle or unfamiliar with a borrowed car.
- A driver with a medical condition that affects their driving (seizure, passing out, etc.)
- A driver driving distracted or driving drowsy
- An intoxicated driver
- A driver that swerved to miss another car and hit your parked vehicle instead
Steps to Take If Someone Hit Your Parked Car
There are several steps you need to take after an accident involving your parked car. It is very important to follow them in order. These steps are:
- Call the police – Upon arrival at the scene, the police will draw up an accident report for your claim. Don’t forget to ask for a copy of this report.
- Document and gather any information you can – At the scene of the accident, take pictures and document the other party’s contact and insurance information. Also, collect the names and contact information of witnesses to contribute to your claims process, especially if your claim must move to a lawsuit situation. Any information you can document at the scene will be priceless in your case.
- Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible – Your insurance company can begin the claims process after being informed of the accident. Depending on the coverage you have with your insurance, they may help with additional needed coverage if the other party did not have adequate coverage themselves. Your insurance will let you know what kind of information they need so you can send it to them or even upload it to them through their company app.
If all goes well, your insurance company will work with the other party’s insurance company to settle any claims needed.
- Hire an attorney – Depending on how your claims are being settled, what kind of damage has been done, and what injuries you have sustained, you may need to hire an attorney. They will represent you and negotiate on your behalf.
An attorney will take care of everything needed to get you the money you deserve so you can take care of all the costs associated with your damaged vehicle and possible injuries that may have occurred. In addition, having an attorney to negotiate with insurance companies for you will often lead to much higher settlements, so don’t miss out!
If the person that hit your parked car leaves the scene without leaving any kind of contact information for you, this is considered a hit-and-run accident. Depending on the state, a hit-and-run crash can be counted as a felony only if you sustained injuries. Or some states say that if damage was done in any way, a felony could be issued.
Suppose you have collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance plan. In that case, even if you find yourself in a hit-and-run situation, your insurance company can help compensate you for the damage done to your car due to no fault of your own. These added insurance options provide coverage in the following ways:
- Collision coverage offers compensation regardless of who is at fault.
- Uninsured motorist coverage shields you for accidents involving someone without the appropriate insurance coverage. This coverage applies solely to bodily injury. If you do not sustain injuries in the accident, this coverage will not apply.
What Are Your Options if You Were Injured?
What if you were inside your parked car when it was hit and sustained injuries? A personal injury attorney can guide you through the steps of beginning a personal injury lawsuit as well as help you review settlement offers that may come your way. Make sure you have a trusted legal expert at your disposal if you were injured in any way during an accident.
Protect Yourself and Your Claim
Don’t let anyone get away with hitting your parked car. If your vehicle has sustained damage while parked in a legal parking stall, the driver responsible needs to be held liable for their actions, whether it was an accident or not.
If you decide you would like to take legal action against the driver that hit your parked car, don’t make the mistake of attempting to represent yourself. Don’t hesitate to call a legal expert to help pilot you through all the steps of the legal process.
Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. know all the details that can go into a parked car accident situation. Your claims will be handled, paperwork completed, and settlement offers communicated. You won’t regret calling to find out more. Contact us at (504) 522-2304 to schedule a free consultation today.