According to the National Safety Council, one in five accidents happens in parking lots and a study by Allstate Insurance found that 69 percent of all hit-and-runs involve parked cars. If you hit someone in a parking lot or you discover your vehicle has been damaged in a parking lot, there are things you can do to protect yourself.
Here’s What To Do If You’ve Hit A Parked Car:
Don’t Leave the Scene
Even if you are in a parking lot, striking another car is an accident and the law requires that you remain on the scene. If you leave, you could be charged with a hit-and-run, even if the damage is minor. Most parking lots today have video surveillance so it is highly likely your license plate can be reported to police. If the police have to track you down, the punishment will be severe with fines, possible license suspension and as many as six points added to your license.
Locate the Owner
You can step into a business that uses the parking lot in order to find the owner of the car. Take down the license plate as well as the make and model of the car. If you are in the parking lot of a mall or department store, they should announce over the PA system that the owner needs to report to the parking lot. If you are unable to find the owner, leave a note with your name, address, contact number and an explanation of what happened. Don’t include any insurance information and don’t give too many details. For example, you don’t want to say you were not paying attention as this can be used against you later. Tuck the note under the windshield wiper and be sure to use ink that will not run should it rain. In some states, you can be fined for not leaving contact information.
Photos and Witnesses
If possible, take photos of any damages as well as the license plate number of the other car. This can protect you from the other person claiming damages that did not exist at the time of the accident. Look around to see if anyone else in the parking lot saw what happened. Be sure to get their contact information and ask them to write down what they saw.
If Someone Hits Your Car
If you discover your car has been hit in a parking lot and the person did not stay or leave a note, call the police to get a report. They can ask for video surveillance that could identify the suspect. Take photos and look for witnesses who may have seen the accident.
Always contact your insurance company whether you were at fault in a parking lot accident or it was caused by someone else. For more information, contact us today by filling out the easy form online.