Life is going well. Maybe you had a good commute to work that morning, or enjoyed a great day at the beach. But then, when you return to your car, you find that someone hit it.
What should you do?
Treat It as An Accident Scene
Hitting a parked car is just as much as accident as hitting a car in a roadway. By law, drivers who hit a parked car should make every effort to find out who the owner of the car is and/or leave a note giving their own contact information.
If they can’t do that, they need to contact the police to notify them that an accident has occurred.
If the person who hit your car does not do that, it is considered a hit and run accident, just as hitting a person and fleeing would be.
So your first order of business is to see if someone did leave a note — under the windshield or in some other position.
If they didn’t leave a note, take the following steps.
Steps to Take If Your Parked Car Was Hit
- Stay at the scene. You need to notify the proper authorities and gather all the information you can before you leave the area where your car is parked.
- Call the police. The police will come and file an accident report. An accident report ensures that your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company, if applicable, will have proper, official notification of the accident.
- See if you can find witnesses. If there are people passing by, ask if anyone saw who hit your car. It’s possible there won’t be anyone around who saw anything, but it’s worth a try.
- Take pictures. It’s an excellent idea to take multiple pictures of your vehicle, from all angles. It establishes the damage that can be used for insurance claims and for possible claims against the person who hit your car.
- Record where and when you discovered your car had been hit. Exact locations and times are best.
- Get in touch with your insurance company. If you can, call them immediately. Many adjusters will want to take pictures and get a report as soon as they can.
When You Need a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer
It can be very aggravating to find out that your car has been damaged while in a parking area. It’s important to remember, though, that you do have recourse if your vehicle has been damaged. The other person’s insurance should pay, if they can be found. If not, yours will pay.
Have you or a loved one suffered losses — including injury — in a car accident in New York or New Jersey? Contact Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman to discuss your case. Our seasoned NY & NJ car accident attorneys have the experience and knowhow to win maximum damages allowed under the law.
- Hitting a parked car: essential next steps. Insurance.com. August 2, 2017. https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/parked-car-insurance.html
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Motorist accident reports. https://dmv.ny.gov/dmv-records/motorist-accident-reports