There are more than 50,000 annual crashes in parking lots and garages in the United States. That makes up 20% of the countries annual car accident statistics. Plus, most of the time when car accidents happen in parking lots, one or more of the vehicles involved are vacant. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely that you’ve already made the right decision to not leave the scene of the accident. You do not want to add to the statistic of hit-and-run accidents! So, if you’ve hit a parked car, or your parked car was hit, and you don’t know what to do, you’ve come to the right place.
Six Things You Should Do If You’ve Hit A Parked Vehicle:
Do not leave the scene of the accident, at least for a while.
The minute you drive away from the accident you caused, this can be considered a hit and run. Hit-and-run charges can be detrimental to your record, leaving you with up to 6 points on your license, hefty fines, a suspended license, or even jail time. So, give it some time and follow the next steps to ensure you’ve done everything that you can to contact the vehicle’s owner.
Try to find the vehicle’s owner
If you’ve spent some time in the parking lot, the next step you should take is to try to find the owner of the car you hit. Take a picture of the license plate number and ask around in near-by businesses. Finding the owner is the best-case scenario, to ensure they’re aware of what happened, and to avoid any potential in you being blamed for a hit-and-run accident.
Leave a note on the windshield or door handle
It’s possible that you’ll be unsuccessful in finding the vehicle owner. In that case, it’s essential to leave a note with your contact information. Many states will require that you leave the following information in your note:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Auto insurance policy information
- Explanation of what happened
Don’t go too into detail on what happened. Stick to the facts. The information you write down can be used against you during the insurance process. Note: if you were driving a borrowed vehicle, it’s important to leave the name and address of the vehicle’s owner as well.
Take pictures of the damage and license plate
For insurance purposes, you’ll need photos of the damage on the vehicle you hit, your vehicle, and the license plate. Take pictures of the surrounding areas on the vehicle you hit. That way when the damage is claimed, you’re sure its related to your accident.
Look for witnesses
If there were any witnesses, it would be helpful for you to have their testimony of what happened. Write down their contact information and a brief statement of what they witnessed. If possible, you could even take a quick video!
If necessary, call the police
In certain states, you may be required to call the police if your vehicle was involved in an accident. Filing a police report can be helpful, especially if the damage is severe. They will make an accident report, which will ensure you do not get charged with a hit-and-run.
Contact your insurance company
Even if you don’t want to try to claim the damage to your vehicle, it’s important to let your insurance company know that you were involved in an accident. The owner of the damaged vehicle can have up to three years to file their claim, depending on the state you live in. If you don’t inform your insurance company, they might not cover the cost of the claim.
Does your vehicle have damage from a recent accident in the Colorado Front Range? Give us a call at 303-449-4153 to schedule your free estimate.