I Hit a Parked Car. What Should I Do?

I Hit a Parked Car. What Should I Do?

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I Hit a Parked Car. What Should I Do?

If you hit a parked car, you should first stop and assess the situation. While doing so, stay calm and don't panic. Next, check for any injuries, and call emergency services immediately if someone is hurt. Then, check the damage to both cars and, if possible, take pictures of the damage.

Remember to leave a note with your contact information if the car's owner is not at the scene. In the note, include your name, phone number, and a brief explanation of what happened.

Suppose the owner of the car is present. In that case, exchange insurance and contact information with them. Then, report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Even if the damage seems minor, it's essential to let the insurer know about it.

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  • What Could Happen if I Leave an Accident Scene Without Providing My Contact Information?

    In most states, leaving the accident scene without providing your contact information can result in serious consequences. In fact, most states consider such an action a hit-and-run, which is a criminal offense.

    Depending on the nature of the case, you may face criminal charges. This is because a hit-and-run is a serious criminal offense. The exact charges may range from a misdemeanor to a felony. To put things into perspective, in Washington state, a hit-and-run offense could land you up to life in prison (for a class A felony) and up to a $50,000 fine.

    In some cases, the State may suspend or revoke your driver's license. It's even worse if you have prior traffic violations.

    The injured party can also file a civil liability claim against you. If they win, you will be liable for any damages or injuries caused by the accident.

  • What Happens if I Don't Report to My Insurance Company That I Hit a Parked Car?

    Your insurance company may refuse to cover any damages or injuries resulting from the accident. This could leave you personally liable for any damages or injuries.

    In addition, even if you don't file a claim with your insurance company, they may still find out about the accident through other means, such as the other driver's insurer or public records. If that happens, your insurance rates may increase significantly.

    You may also have difficulty getting coverage in the future. This is because insurance companies will likely interpret that as a red flag for risky behavior.

  • Should I Involve the Police if I Hit a Parked Car?

    While not every incident requires a police officer's intervention, it is usually a great idea to report just for future reference. That said, this decision depends on the severity of the accident and the laws in your jurisdiction. For example, in Arizona, you must file a report if the damage is worth more than $300. In Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, and Missouri, you must file a report if the damage is worth more than $500.

    Generally, other than the state-specific threshold for the cost of vehicle damage, it is a great idea to involve the police if:

    • the owner of the car is not present;
    • you need someone to record witness statements;
    • you suspect the other car was involved in a crime such as a hit and run; or
    • the owner of the car requests police involvement.

    In general, it's a good idea to involve the police if there is any doubt about what to do. The police can guide and protect you from any future legal issues that could arise from the accident.

  • Should I Admit Liability if I Hit a Parked Car?

    Do not admit liability, even if it is pretty obvious that you hit the parked car. This is because car accident laws vary from State to State, and the specifics of your case will ultimately decide if you are liable.

    While it may be tempting to apologize for the accident because it may seem the right thing to do, this can be seen as an admission of liability. So instead, you should express sympathy for the other party and avoid making any statements that could pass as an admission of fault.

    It is best to leave the issue of liability determination to the insurance company or your attorney. The provider will send their claims adjusters to investigate the accident and determine fault based on the evidence.

    Most importantly, you should be honest about what happened. Lying or withholding information can worsen the situation or even lead to serious charges against you.

  • Someone Hit My Parked Car But Did Not Leave Their Information. What Should I Do?

    In such a situation, you need to document the damage, look for witnesses, gather evidence such as surveillance footage, and then file a police report. Once that's done, contact your insurance company to report the damage. The insurer may be able to compensate you for certain covered damages.

  • What Damages Can I Claim From My Insurance Company if Someone Hit My Parked Car?

    You may be able to make a hit-and-run claim with your insurance company. However, the recoverable damages will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the coverage provided by your insurance policy. That said, some damages you may be able to claim include but are not limited to:

    • The cost of repairing the damage to your car, including any necessary parts and labor.
    • Rental car expenses if your damaged car is unusable while it's being repaired.
    • Towing and storage fees if your car needs to be towed or stored after the accident.
  • What Happens if My Insurance Provider Denies My Claim?

    The saddest truth about insurance companies is that they will always try to find ways to cut losses. That's how they make money. So, it's unsurprising if your insurance provider refuses to settle your hit-and-run claim. In that case, here is what to do.

    Try to negotiate with them to reach a settlement that you are both satisfied with. To improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome, you can provide evidence, such as police reports, photos or videos of the damages to your vehicle, medical bills, and witness statements, to support your claim.

    If the insurance provider won't accept your claim or offers a lowball settlement, you can file a complaint with your State's insurance regulator. Each State has an office of the insurance commissioner that handles such complaints. The regulator will review your complaint, investigate the insurance carrier's conduct, and try to find a remedy.

    Some insurance policies include clauses requiring such disputes to be resolved through arbitration or mediation, a faster and less expensive alternative to going to court. This, too, might be an option.

    The other option, which is highly recommended, especially if you suffered significant damages, is to hire an experienced insurance claim attorney. The attorney can review your case and represent you in settlement negotiations or court if necessary.

  • Who Is an Insurance Claim Attorney?

    An insurance claim attorney helps clients file insurance claims and receive fair compensation for their losses. These attorneys usually have experience dealing with insurance companies, big and small, and are familiar with different tactics such companies used to avoid liability or minimize claims.

  • What Are Some Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Liability?

    Insurance companies may deny or delay claims to avoid paying out compensation. For example, they may argue that the policy doesn't cover the specific claim or that the claimant was at fault for the accident, making them ineligible for a settlement.

    Others may offer a low settlement amount to claimants, hoping they will accept it and avoid pursuing legal action. Unfortunately, this tactic usually works because claimants are usually desperate for a settlement to cover rising bills and other expenses.

    But the settlement amount is usually insufficient to cover the claimant's losses. Even worse is that once the claimant accepts the settlement and signs the release, they cannot file a new claim for the same incident, even if they discover later that they deserved better than what they received.

    Some insurance carriers may also try to discredit the claimant by arguing that they exaggerated their injuries or that they have a pre-existing condition. All these claims may be false, but since most insurance providers are bullies, they tend to intimidate claimants to settle for less or nothing at all.
     
    Shortly after the accident, the insurance company may also contact the policyholder to offer a quick settlement, hoping they will accept it without fully understanding their rights or the extent of their injuries. Sadly, since you may desperately need the money, you might accept the offer, not knowing the true value of your claim.

    Lastly, some insurance companies may try to shift the blame onto the claimant, arguing that they were responsible for the accident or that they contributed to their injuries. And depending on the jurisdiction, this tactic might work for the insurance provider. For instance, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland follow the contributory negligence legal principle, which bars claimants from recovering damages even if they were only one percent at fault for the accident. So, all the insurance company needs to do is prove that you contributed to the accident. And they may succeed if you lack the right legal team to represent you.

  • How Can an Insurance Claim Attorney Help Me?

    To begin with, insurance claim attorneys are not created equal. So, not every attorney you encounter will be able to get you a favorable outcome. That said, a skilled lawyer from a reputable and powerful law firm like Morgan & Morgan can help you fight back against bullish insurance carriers.

    Here is an overview of how such an attorney can help.

    The insurance claim attorney will help you understand the terms of your insurance policies and what kind of coverage you are entitled to. This helps avoid any confusion or unrealistic expectations when you file a claim. For instance, in most cases, Uninsured Motorist coverage covers only bodily injury and damages to your vehicle, not pain and suffering.

    A skilled lawyer can also help gather evidence to support your claim, especially if the insurance provider cited insufficient evidence as the reason for denial. Once they have gathered substantial evidence to support your case, they will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

    However, there are no guarantees that the insurance company will provide a fair settlement or even be willing to cooperate. In that case, the attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf, presenting the case to a judge or jury.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan Insurance Claim Lawyers

    It is no secret that some insurance companies are bullies and manipulative. They will treat you as their favorite client when you pay your premiums and as a stranger when you file a claim. But, again, that is just how they make money.

    Sadly, many people have given up on valid claims because they do not have the resources, experience, or even time to deal with the frustration of insurance companies, including their claims adjusters and legal representatives. Unfortunately for claimants, for each abandoned claim, insurance providers make billions out of it. Also, if no one holds them accountable, they will keep getting away with siphoning their policyholder's hard-earned money without accountability.

    That is where Morgan & Morgan comes in. Because we are America's largest injury firm, we are not afraid to hold insurance companies accountable. Instead, we have the resources, track record, and experience to handle bad-faith insurance claims and related disputes to secure the settlement our clients deserve.

    Remember, insurance claims are time-sensitive. The longer you wait, the harder it is to recover damages. Contact us now for a free case evaluation, or simply call us and say, “I hit a parked car. What should I do?” We might be able to help you fight back against rogue insurance providers and obtain a favorable outcome.

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