What To Do if I Hit a Parked Car?Published: Feb 27, 2023 in Auto Accident
Parking lots can be crowded and confusing. With vehicles moving in all directions and little space between parking spots, it is not surprising that accidents involving parked cars are common. Even the most careful and responsible driver is likely to experience this type of fender bender at some point.
Accidents involving parked cars follow the same insurance and fault rules as other types of crashes. We will explain how to notify the driver, report the accident, and avoid hit and run charges should this happen to you.
If you are involved in an accident with a parked car, stop, and take a deep breath. Try not to panic. If you stay at the scene and remain cooperative, the process will go much smoother. Check to see if you or anyone else is injured, and if so call 911.
Stay At the Scene
It is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident with an unattended vehicle. In Illinois, it is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. Never leave the scene under any circumstances until have identified yourself and notified the owner of the other vehicle.
Inform the Vehicle Owner
After you hit a parked car, move to park your vehicle to a safe, legal area nearby so it is out of the way. Wait for the owner of the damaged vehicle to return and exchange your information when they do.
If the owner does not return in a reasonable amount of time, leave your contact information on a note placed in a conspicuous part of the vehicle. Write down your name, phone number, insurance company, and a brief explanation of the accident.
Take Photos of the Damage
Document the accident scene to help insurance companies, law enforcement, and attorneys assess your claim. Use a camera or mobile phone to take photos of both vehicles, focusing on areas where damage occurred.
This is one way to protect yourself if the other driver claims you caused more damage that you actually did. In some cases, the other driver may actually bear some fault for the crash, especially if they were illegally parked. Photos, video, and eyewitness accounts are key evidence used to support your case and possibly reduce your share of liability.
Contact the Police
Illinois law requires police to be notified when accidents occur that cause injuries. If anyone at the scene is hurt, call police and file a police report. Failure to do so can bring heavy fines and several years in jail.
Consult a Lawyer
Accidents involving parked cars become more complex if the at-fault driver was distracted, under the influence, or was not supposed to be driving for any reason. As with any accident, it is wise to seek the counsel of a trusted personal injury lawyer to learn your rights and responsibilities. Legal representation can help you avoid costly mistakes and move your car accident case along as efficiently as possible.
Report the Accident to the Insurance Company
Next, you need to contact your insurance company and report the accident. Even if you are unable to locate the owner, failure to contact your insurance company can lead them to deny your claim.
In most cases, the other party’s insurance company will make a claim with your insurance company. Your insurance company will pay the claim through property damage liability coverage. Be aware that your insurance premiums are likely to go up, even if no one is hurt. Your provider may view you as more of a “risk” than you were prior to the accident.
The Belleville Car Crash Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm Provide Free Consultations for New Clients
If you have questions about a recent auto accident, Belleville car crash lawyers at The Cates Law Firm can help. We utilize every legal resource available to reach a good outcome for your case. Call is today at 618-277-3644 or inquire online to schedule a no-obligation case review. Based in Swansea, we work with clients in and around Belleville, St. Louis, East St. Louis, Carbondale, Granite City, Chester, Waterloo, Madison County, St, Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County, Illinois.