What To Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car
No one expects to return to a parking lot to find their car damaged but it happens every day in Los Angeles. Many people do not realize that it is a crime in California to leave the scene of an accident without leaving your contact information. In an accident that causes property damage, leaving the scene is a misdemeanor. But if the accident causes injury or death, it is a felony. If you are the victim of one of these hit and run parking lot accidents, there are a few things you can do to improve your situation.
Check for witnesses
You may be eager to track down the car that struck yours but time may be better spent looking around for witnesses who saw the event.
Look for security cameras
Shopping malls, stores, and banks often have cameras stationed near entrances where they may be able to pick up parking lot activity. If you are really lucky, a camera may have captured the license plate number. Even if the footage is not that detailed, you may at least be able to narrow down the type and color of the car or description of the driver.
Take photos of the damage
Take photos from several angles and the surrounding areas. Try to include any evidence that might point to the vehicle that caused the damage, such as scrapes of paint.
Make a police report
This is important even if you do not know which car caused the damage. Some insurance companies require a police report before they will pay for the damages. The police also have greater ability to obtain evidence like security footage, and to run reports if a witness saw the other car’s license plate.
Inform your insurance company
If you can identify the driver of the vehicle that caused the damage, you can make a third-party claim against their insurance. If that is not possible, then you can make a claim on your own insurance. But do not wait to see if you can find the other driver; notify your insurance carrier immediately if there might be a claim or you may need to battle with the company over whether your notice was unnecessarily delayed.
Speak with a lawyer
When you make an insurance claim, the company will ask you to sign a release. This document will prohibit you from filing a lawsuit or asking for more money if the damage turns out to be more than expected. Having an attorney represent you through this process will increase the likelihood that you will receive complete compensation in this process.
Finding unexpected damage to your vehicle in a parking lot can do more than just ruin your day. It can impair the safety of your bumper, reduce the value of your vehicle, and rob you of the time it takes to repair the problem. You do not need to handle this alone; call a southern California car accident lawywer at the Ellis Injury Law Firm. We proudly serve clients across California from our 20 office locations. Call today for a free confidential consultation.
Additional parking lot hit and run resources:
- California Legislature, Vehicle Code 20002, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=20002.&lawCode=VEH
- California Legislature, Vehicle Code 20003, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH§ionNum=20003.