Injury Law Blog

What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car

Even when you’re not actively in transit, you are still at risk for car damage caused by other negligent drivers. How you proceed following the incident depends on one crucial detail: was it a hit-and-run accident? Hit-and-runs are common in parked cars located in areas without surveillance. This is because drivers, especially those without adequate insurance, don’t want to address the damage they’ve caused. In both hit-and-run situations, and incidents where you are in contact with the driver, several factors answer questions such as who pays for the damage and who is at fault.

Static Steps After Any Accident

Regardless of the incident’s hit-and-run status, you should always certain steps after an accident.

Take Photos of the Damage

If the other driver has stopped their car or is unable to move it based on the accident itself, take photos. Capture photos of the surrounding location and the damage done to both vehicles. If the other driver is not available, take photos of your own damage.

Call the Police

File a police report with local authorities and request a copy of the report after it processes. This acts as a form of proof for both your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, and the court if you bring your case to trial.

Look for Witnesses

Connect with potential witnesses and as for their contact information.

At the scene of the accident, you must also exchange insurance and/or contact information with the other driver. However, this might not always be possible if the driver has fled the scene without leaving their information.

Who Pays for the Damage?

The party that is responsible for paying the damages associated with an accident depends on if you were able to obtain the other driver’s information, and whether they were at fault.

Without the driver’s information, the responsibility of payment falls onto your insurance company. You might typically associate your liability insurance coverage with accidents in which you are at-fault. However, it also covers instances of hit-and-run when you cannot contact the driver in any way. Personal injury protection is your only other option for coverage if you don’t have liability insurance. It isn’t possible to seek other external forms of compensation, because pursuing claims against the other driver requires you to know who they are.

With the driver’s information at hand, your options increase. The following information assumes that the other driver is primarily to blame for the incident. If the other driver does not have adequate insurance to cover the damages they incurred, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can fill the gap that the other driver’s insurance leaves.

If the other driver does possess adequate insurance, your insurance company will most likely initiate the claims process with their carrier. This involves communicating with the carrier’s claims adjustors and negotiating a settlement based on the context of the incident and the evidence you’ve gathered. This settlement should cover the damages caused by the accident.

You can also pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. If your case is successful, the compensation you recover will cover your damages. If you were a victim of a hit and run accident, or any other type of car accident in California, our car accident attorneys in Sacramento can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Suing the Other Driver 

If you know the identity of the other driver, you can sue them depending on your fault status. Comparative fault assigns a percentage of fault to each driver based on their contribution to the accident. In some states that practice modified comparative fault laws, only plaintiffs that possess a rating of less than 50% can pursue legal action against the other driver. Other states, like California, exercise pure comparative fault laws. This means that either driver – no matter their fault status – can pursue legal action against the other party.

Who Is at Fault if I Hit a Parked Car?

Determining fault requires examining all contextual evidence of an accident. For instance, a driver that illegally parks car in a way that is not visible to drivers in transit will likely receive a large portion of the blame in determining who is at fault, especially of the driver in transit could not see the vehicle. In essence, the fault associated with parked car accidents has to do with whether the driver of the parked vehicle was being negligent. If you back into a legally parked car while reversing, chances are you will be at-fault.

Dealing with parked car accidents is like addressing a normal car accident if both parties are present. No matter the context, however, your insurance company generally offers different coverage options in pursuing reimbursement for your damages.