What Do You Do When Someone Hits Your Car?

When someone hits your car, ensure all passengers are not hurt, then exchange insurance information and contact information with the other driver. Next, take many photos and witness statements, and report the incident to your insurance company.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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What Happens During Parked Car Accidents?

No one likes finding a scratch or dent on their car, and it can be even more distressing when this occurs while their car is parked. Consider someone who parks their car at the grocery store and goes in to grab some bread and milk. When they return to their car, they find a massive dent on their bumper. To discover one’s car damaged out of nowhere can be heartbreaking. In the event someone has hit one’s car while it was parked somewhere, one of the following situations will happen:

  1. Contact

A car accidentally hits another car in the parking lot and the at-fault driver either waits for the victim or leaves his or her contact information on the windshield of the car. This shows that the responsible driver is ready to cooperate with the victim and cover their damages.

In this instance, the process of getting the car damages covered by insurance is very simple. An individual merely has to contact the person who hit their car and file a third-party claim under that person’s motor insurance.

  1. No Contact

A car accidentally hits another car in the parking lot and the at-fault driver runs away from the scene of the accident without leaving his or her contact information for the victim to get in touch. This kind of incident is usually referred to as a hit-and-run accident.

In this instance, it can be difficult to find the at-fault driver and get them to pay the damages caused to the victim’s car. If the victim manages to find the other driver, he or she can get them to pay for their car’s damages by filing a third-party car insurance claim against them. However, if the victim is unable to find the responsible driver, then he or she will have to get their car repaired using their own money.

What to Do If Someone Hits Your Car?

If another driver accidentally hits an individual’s car while it was standing parked in a lot, then the driver of the vehicle should pay for any damages caused to the victim’s car. The at-fault driver should leave his or her contact information for the victim to get in touch. However, it is sadly common for people not to leave a note. Instead, a victim may be left looking at the damage to their car with no way of finding the person at fault.

For these individuals, the first thing to do is to remain calm. They should then follow these steps:

Note the offender’s details

If an individual finds their car damaged while parked and there is a note with the driver’s information, he or she should store that paper safely. The individual will need to get in touch with the other driver to get the car repaired. In the event an individual sees the vehicle that damaged the car fleeing the scene, he or she should write down the car’s registration number and its model rather than chasing down the car. This information may be included in a police report against the offender.

Find witnesses

If an individual did not see who hit their parked car, he or she should look for any witnesses who saw the accident take place. If the individual finds witnesses, he or she should ask them for a description and details of the vehicle that damaged their car. The individual should see if the witnesses are willing to testify against the offender; if they are, jot down their contact information.

Call the police and file an FIR

As soon as an individual sees their damaged parked car, he or she should call the police right away to file a report. He or she will need to file an FIR, or a First Information Report. After this report has been registered, the police will open an investigation to see if they can find the driver who damaged the car and ran away. It should be noted that car insurance providers ask that policyholders submit a copy of the FIR to raise a third-party car insurance claim. Therefore, an individual may need to submit an FIR copy to the offender’s insurance provider.

Inform the car insurer of the accident

In addition to calling the police, an individual should notify their car insurance company about their parked car accident as soon as possible. After informing the insurance company, he or she may be able to file a car insurance claim to get the damages covered.

If an insurer needs the car to be inspected at the scene of the accident, an individual should wait for the surveyor to come out. It is important not to move the vehicle from the site of the accident. After the survey has been completed, the individual may take their car to a network or out-of-network garage to be repaired.

Look for Security Cameras

It is important to check for any security cameras that may have filmed the accident. Market and mall parking lots often have surveillance cameras, which can assist in finding the details of the car that hit one’s own. If the parking lot does not have any cameras, one may check nearby shops and residences to see if they have security cameras that may have caught the incident. If an individual succeeds in finding security camera footage, he or she should retain a copy of it.

Take Photographs of the Accident Site and the Damaged Car

Regardless of how pressed for time an individual may be, he or she should be sure to get pictures of the accident site as well as of the damaged car. The pictures will serve as evidence of the accident and the damages caused to the vehicle. The pictures will thereby help get a claim approved by the insurance company and will also help with the police investigation.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney If You’re Injured

Contacting an auto accident attorney in California if you’re injured to help you navigate complex insurance claim and legal processes. The auto accident attorney can assess your claim’s worth, and negotiate with insurance companies for fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

How to Get Parked Car Damages Covered

There are two methods by which an individual can get their parked car damages covered. He or she can either get the offending driver to pay for the damages by filing a third-party car insurance claim or raise their own damage claim with their insurer.

Third-party car insurance claim

A third-party car insurance policy is meant to cover all third-party accidental liabilities of the policyholder caused by their vehicle. Thus, the person who damaged the other vehicle would be legally bound to pay for the damages. All that an individual needs to do is file a third-party accidental claim against the other driver, whose insurance company will pay compensation for the damages. However, a third-party insurance claim is only a possibility if the individual knows who damaged their car.

Own Damage Car Insurance Claim

In the event an individual cannot find the person who damaged their parked car, he or she can still get the repairs paid for under his or her car insurance policy, assuming he or she has own damage cover. An own damage cover offers coverage for accidental loss or damages caused to one’s car, in addition to fire damages, theft, and damages caused by manmade and natural disasters.

How to File a Claim for a Parked Car Accident

In order to file a claim for a parked car accident under one’s comprehensive car insurance, an individual will first need to let their car insurance company know about the accident. It is important to contact the insurer as soon as possible. The insurer may send a surveyor to look at the damages to the car. After this, an individual may send the vehicle to a repair shop, using either a network or non-network garage. The individual will also have to submit all required documents to their car insurance company to get the claim approved.

In the event an individual sends the car to a network garage for repair, the insurer will pay the repair bill on a cashless basis. Alternatively, if an individual sends their car to a non-network garage for repair, then the individual will need to pay the bill on their own and file a reimbursement claim with their insurer at a later time.

Summary

It is very common for cars to be damaged while parked. Therefore, it is best to be prepared for this unfortunate situation so that one will know what steps to take. It is a good idea to buy a comprehensive insurance policy instead of third=party car insurance so that one’s policy will cover the damages.

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