The United States is among the busiest nations in terms of road traffic. Statistics reveal that nearly 4.7 million passenger cars were involved in U.S. traffic crashes in 2020. It accounts for 52 percent of the overall total accidents in the country. In cases wherein the defendant is proven negligent, the plaintiff qualifies for damages sustained in the accident. But what to do when someone hits your parked car? Fortunately, you can seek compensation provided that you have sufficient evidence against the responsible parties. For legal assistance, contact our experienced car accident lawyers at Phillips Law Offices.
Possible situations during parked car accidents
Parking lots at malls and supermarkets are crowdy, especially during the holidays, but also on many typical weekends. Crowded parking spaces raise the chances of a fender bender and door ding on your car, truck, or SUV. If you parked your car somewhere with several other vehicles and came back to see it damaged, one of the following scenarios could occur:
A vehicle hits your car in the parking lot by accident, and the driver either waits for you or leaves contact information on your conveyance. It indicates that the at-fault driver is keen to cooperate with you and pay for your losses. In this case, getting your car damages covered can be a simple process. All you need to do is contact the driver who caused the crash and file a third-party claim through their auto insurance.
A car hits your parked vehicle, and the driver flees the scene without leaving any contact information. An incident like this is a hit-and-run accident case. Finding the at-fault driver in this situation and securing compensation for the harm done to your car may be challenging. You cannot seek compensation unless you locate the driver. As a result, you will have to get your car fixed yourself. However, if you track down the offender, you can make a third-party car insurance claim against that person.
Steps to take when someone hits your parked car
Ideally, the driver who unintentionally struck your parked car from behind is responsible for covering the costs of the repairs. You should be able to contact the negligent driver if they left their contact information. However, this isn’t always the accidental case. You might not find a note from the person who caused the damage to your car, and you may be left scratching your head, unsure of what to do next. The first thing you should do in the event of a parked car accident is to remain calm and alert. Now, see what you can do if someone caused damage to your parked car:
Save contact details
If someone damages your car in the parking lot and leaves a note with contact information, you should store that paper safely. To get your vehicle fixed and compensated, speak with the responsible party. However, if you see the vehicle that hit your parked car driving away from the accident spot, don’t chase it; instead, write down its model and registration number. It will make it easier to report the offender to the police.
Find accident witnesses
You should look for accident witnesses if you did not see the car that hit yours. Seek out those who witnessed the incident on the accident site. Ask any witnesses you come across for a description or other information about the car that caused the damage. Also, check if the witnesses are ready to testify against the offender. If they do, make a note of their contact information.
Filing for a police report
When you notice damage to your parked car, call the police and report the incident. If you did not obtain a police report at the scene, visit the local police station. You will need a police report number to file your claims for the parked car accident. The police will investigate and try to track down the driver who damaged your vehicle and fled. Besides, motor insurance providers will also ask for a copy of the police report to raise a third-party car insurance claim.
Informing auto insurance company
Apart from reporting to the police, you should immediately notify your car insurance company about your parked car accident. After informing your auto insurance company, you can file a car insurance claim to cover the damages incurred by your vehicle. If your insurer requires an inspection of your car at the scene, wait for the surveyor to arrive and do not move your vehicle from the accident site. After the survey, you can take your vehicle to any garage for repairs.
Searching surveillance cameras
Look for any surveillance footage from possible accident-capturing devices. Security cameras are generally present in parking lots at malls and markets, which may assist you in identifying the vehicle that struck your car. If there are no security cameras at the parking space, look for nearby businesses or homes with security cameras, as they may have captured the incident. If you find the accident recorded on a security camera, take a copy of the footage.
Taking Photographs of the accident
No matter how rushed you may be, don’t forget to take images of the accident scene and your damaged car. The pictures prove that the accident occurred and it caused damage to your vehicle. You can use these photos to assist the police investigation and get your claim approved by your auto insurance provider.
Consulting personal injury lawyer
You should consult a personal injury lawyer due to the complexities of filing a damage claim for your car. Your attorney can examine the evidence, compile the documents, and negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurer on your behalf. Because most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, you will usually not have to pay any legal fees until you attain a fair settlement.
Attaining your parked car damages coverage
There are two ways to get the damages to your parked car covered. Either submit a third-party auto insurance claim to hold the at-fault party accountable or file an individual damage claim with your insurer.
Car insurance third-party claim
A third-party auto insurance policy covers all accidental third-party liabilities of the policyholder brought on by their vehicle. Therefore, the driver of the vehicle that collided with yours will be required to pay for the harm your car caused. Make a third-party accidental claim against the wrongdoer, and their auto insurance provider will reimburse you for your losses. You can only file a third-party auto insurance claim if you know who damaged your parked car.
Auto insurance claim for own damage
If you have your damage cover and can not track down the person who damaged your parked car, your car insurance will still pay for the losses. An own damage cover offers coverage for any accidental loss or damage to your vehicle, including fire, theft, and damage from natural calamities. However, unlike third-party auto insurance, own damage coverage is not mandatory in every state. To get your motor insurance company to pay for the repair of your car, you must have a comprehensive car insurance policy or a separate standalone own damage cover.
You must first inform your motor insurance company of the accident to file a claim for a parked car accident under your comprehensive auto insurance. For claim approval, you also have to submit all the necessary paperwork. After receiving the accident information, the insurance company will send a surveyor to inspect the vehicle’s damages. Following the inspection, you can send your car for repair to a garage. If you take it to a network garage for repairs, your insurer will pay your repair bill in cash. But, if you take your car to a non-network garage for repairs, you will pay the bill and get reimbursement from your insurer later.
Contact our Attorney for parked car accident cases
When you leave your car in the parking lot, the last thing you expect is to find it damaged. If you’re lucky, you might find a note from the person who hit your car unintentionally. Otherwise, determining who is to blame may become extremely difficult. If you ever find yourself in this situation, I am sure you don’t know what to do when someone hits your parked car. A qualified lawyer is the best person to approach.
Parking lots are not the only spaces that could encounter car accidents. Your car parked on the street could also be the target. You will seek insurance coverage if someone on the street sideswipes or hits your parked car. However, there are instances where the insurance company for the negligent driver may decline to pay any claims. At this point, you will need a lawyer to stand by your side. Your defendants might claim that you had parked your four-wheeler improperly or it was in an area not intended for cars.
On the contrary, finding the driver who caused the collision and fled the scene is challenging. You will need to call the police in this case to check any nearby security cameras and to track down witnesses to show who caused the accident. If you eventually locate the responsible person, you will still need a personal injury lawyer Chicago to claim a deserving amount of compensation. To get free consultation on your case, contact us now at (312) 598-0917.
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