It’s a very upsetting experience to leave a public place such as a restaurant or mall to find out that your parked car has been hit and that whoever hit it left the scene. In California, Vehicle Code 20002 states that whenever someone hits another vehicle and causes property damage, they should immediately stop and either attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle or leave a note giving their name and address.
Failing to do this is considered a hit and run and is punishable by time in prison for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. This law applies even if the damage appears to be minor. When you find that your vehicle has been damaged and no one has stayed with it or tried to leave their information, what should you do?
Steps to Take After Your Parked Car Has Been Hit
You may have the urge to leave the scene and go home, but the best thing you can do is stay there and try to gather as much evidence as you can. Look around and see if there might be any witnesses. If there are, get information about what they saw and get their contact information.
Other steps you should take if someone hit your parked car and left include:
- Take pictures – Get pictures of the damage to your vehicle and of the scene of the accident including any skid marks or tire tracks. If you’re able to see paint marks from another vehicle, take a close-up picture of that.
- Write down details – Make a note of all the details you remember, such as what time of day it was, what the weather conditions were and how long your car was parked in that location.
- Call the police – Get the police to come and file an accident report, and preserve any evidence at the scene until they arrive.
- Call your insurance company – Start the process of opening a claim. Your agent can let you know what information is required and what to expect during the claims process.
Can You Get Reimbursed for Damages?
If there’s no evidence who the guilty party was, your own insurance policy may help with the cost of repairing your damaged vehicle. Talk to your insurance agent to find out if you have either of these two types of coverage:
- Collision coverage – This type of coverage helps to pay for damage to your vehicle regardless of who was at fault
- Uninsured motorist property damage – This optional coverage may cover damage up to $3,500 if the hit and run driver is able to be identified but is uninsured
If you have collision coverage, you’ll be responsible for satisfying the deductible before the insurance coverage will assist in paying for repairs. The cost of repairs will be subject to your policy limits. Your insurance agent can clarify what coverage you have and whether they might be able to help.
Legal Help for Hit and Run Injuries
An even more serious crime than causing damage to a vehicle is hitting a vehicle with someone in it, causing bodily harm and then leaving the scene of the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Get in touch with Megeredchian Law by filling out our contact form. We will be in touch very soon to set up your free case evaluation. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.