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Discovering your parked car damaged and finding no responsible party around or a courtesy note left is an unfortunate common occurrence that can be emotionally distressing. Fortunately, you are not left without options, but taking immediate action is crucial. In this blog, we outline the steps to take when facing a hit-and-run scenario and provide guidance on navigating the aftermath of a parked car accident.

Assess the Damage

After discovering damage to your parked car, the first step is to assess the extent. Document details, like taking photos and notes regarding the vehicle damage and the surrounding area. This visual evidence and information can be essential when filing an insurance claim or a police report.

Contact the Authorities

Treat this accident like any other and call the authorities to file a police report. Provide the officer with as much accurate information as possible, including any details you’ve gathered regarding the damage and statements from potential witnesses. This official accident report is critical for both law enforcement and insurance purposes.

Gather Information

Collecting witness statements and contact details is crucial in hit-and-run cases. If no one appears to have been around, check for nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the incident. Requesting video footage from surrounding cameras or having valid witness statements can be invaluable in identifying the responsible party.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Contact your car insurance company about the incident and provide all the information gathered. If necessary, you may need to file a repair claim or request roadside assistance if the vehicle is not drivable. These solutions will depend on your level of insurance coverage and whether or not you have collision coverage. In any case, timely reporting is essential for a smooth claims process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I File a Claim Without Knowing Who Hit Me?

Hitting a parked car and leaving the scene can be considered a hit-and-run accident, which is a crime and should be treated as such. You should always file a police report after the incident as it will help you when filing a claim and may lead to identifying who hit the car. In terms of filing a claim, you will need to discuss your level of coverage with your insurance company to determine whether or not you are protected against a hit-and-run. Some states may require UMPD or collision coverage to receive reimbursement for the damage.

What Should I Do if I Hit a Parked Car and Have to Leave?

None of us are perfect, and accidents happen. What if you’re the one who caused the parked car accident and has to leave before you can locate the vehicle owner? Should you leave a note if you bump into a car? What happens if you scratch a car and leave, hoping they won’t notice? 

First off, do not leave the accident scene. Wait for at least a reasonable amount of time for the owner so you can let them know what happened. Before leaving the scene, look for witnesses who can offer statements supporting your account of the accident and have them provide a statement in writing or, with their permission, video-record them on your smartphone. Also, take pictures of any vehicle damage and the other vehicle’s license plate. 

If you are pressed for time and cannot wait any longer, leave a note before leaving. Your note should contain the following information: 

  • Your name
  • Contact information
  • Auto insurance policy information
  • An explanation of what happened

Leaving a detailed note offers you a legal right to leave the area as it allows the owner to contact you if they want compensation for the damage. 

If the damage is significant, you may be required to contact the police. As this determination is often difficult to make, it’s best to play it safe and call the police to file a report yourself that can be provided to the vehicle’s owner for their insurance company. You will also want to notify your insurance company so they know about the incident before the other vehicle’s owner files a claim.

Will My Insurance Go Up if Someone Hits My Parked Car?

Filing a claim with your insurance company may cause a rate increase, but filing the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance generally won’t cause a rate increase since you did not cause the damage. However, some states may cause a rate increase with insurance any time a claim is filed, regardless of fault, so discuss your coverage with your insurance company.

How Will My Insurance Be Affected if I Hit a Car?

Admitting there was an accident does not automatically mean your coverage and deductible rates will be affected. Generally, your rates will only increase if a claim is filed and you are responsible for covering the damage. However, insurers could perceive you as a higher risk and still choose to raise your rates, which, on average, could be about $1,000 more annually.

Even if the damage appears minimal, you should always notify your insurance company of the incident, as the other vehicle owner has two to three years to make a property damage claim. If you fail to notify your insurance immediately, the claim may be refused. 

Navigate Any Vehicle Accident with Help from the Simon Law Firm

Whether someone has hit your vehicle or you are the at-fault party, it’s essential to follow the steps and do the right thing. Working closely with authorities and your insurance company can help you seek repairs and locate the responsible party in hit-and-run cases. 

If you were in or around your vehicle during the accident and experienced physical injury, contact the experienced personal injury & car accident attorneys at Simon Law Firm. We will help you file a personal injury claim and pursue the compensation you’re entitled to.

Contact The Simon Law Firm, P.C.

Our mission is to provide the highest-quality legal services with integrity, professionalism, and respect for our clients.
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