If your car is hit by another vehicle, the experience can be painful, challenging, and potentially even life-changing. From dealing with insurance companies, vehicle damage, and personal injury, you’ll be faced with a series of headaches.
This guide outlines what to do if someone hits your parked car, as well as what you should do if you are involved in a car collision with another motorist, even if they are uninsured.
What to do if another motorist hits your parked car
If someone hits your parked car, you should immediately perform the following steps.
Exchange information with the other motorist (if applicable)
If the other motorist is still at the scene of the collision with your parked car, exchange information with them. You should get the driver’s name, contact details, and insurance details.
More frequently, the other motorist is no longer at the scene of the collision with your parked vehicle. Sometimes, you will find a note from the other motorist with their contact information. If there was no note, the incident could qualify as a hit-and-run. You’ll need to speak with the police to pursue this matter.
Look for witnesses
Check the accident scene to establish whether there were any witnesses to the collision. You could ask any bystanders if they noticed anything. It is also worth asking nearby store owners.
Parking lots in the vicinity may have CCTV cameras installed. Securing footage can help strengthen your claim, especially in the event of a hit-and-run.
Inspect and document all damages
Note all damage to your vehicle. Use your cellphone to take photos and video of the accident scene. The more visual evidence you have to support your claim, the better.
Call the police
You should notify the police if someone hits your vehicle, even if you consider it a minor accident. This will enable you to get a police report for any subsequent insurance claim.
Beyond this, the police can help mediate if there are disagreements between you and the other motorist.
If someone hits your parked car and then flees the scene without leaving their contact details, this is considered a hit-and-run. Hit-and-run is a serious offense potentially triggering criminal charges.
Call insurance company
If you retain an experienced personal injury attorney after a car accident, they can contact the other party’s insurer on your behalf.
If you contact the insurance company of the other driver yourself, let them know that their insured party hit your vehicle so the claim process can immediately get underway. The claims process is often lengthy, so the more promptly you act, the more rapidly you’ll be compensated for your damages.
Hit-and-run scenarios vary from insurer to insurer, and also according to the specifics of your insurance plan. Many insurance plans have clauses covering bodily injury caused by a motorist fleeing the accident scene. This is known as UM/UIM coverage (underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage).
What to do if another motorist hits your car while driving
If another motorist hits your vehicle while driving, this typically involves a more complicated scenario than someone hitting your parked car.
You should perform the following simple steps after a collision with another vehicle.
Move to safety
Firstly, prioritize the safety of yourself and all passengers in your vehicle. If your car stopped in the middle of the road, move it to the side of the road to avoid further damage or injury.
Next, switch on the hazard lights in your car and set up safety cones to warn other drivers if you have these in your vehicle.
As soon as your vehicle and all its occupants are secured, call 911.
Any parties involved in the accident experiencing head, back, or neck pain require immediate medical attention.
Even if you have an accident, you feel is minor, you should call 911 anyway. By calling the emergency line, the police will be notified and come to investigate the accident scene. The attending police officer will also complete a police report.
Exchange information with the other party
Use the time while waiting for the police to swap contact information with the motorist that hit you. You should obtain their full name, phone number, and email address, along with details of their insurance company – the company name and policy number.
If you have a camera to hand, take photos of the accident scene. Photograph the surrounding area as well as the damage to your vehicle. Images of the weather conditions and street intersections can be salient in your subsequent claim.
Call insurance company
If you are representing yourself, contact the other driver’s insurance company. It is advisable, though, to retain a car accident injury attorney. Your lawyer can more effectively deal with the insurance agent.
What to do if the other motorist does not have insurance?
Whether your car is parked or in motion when another vehicle hits it, you may find the other motorist is uninsured.
If someone hits your car and flees the scene without leaving contact details, this is usually classified as a hit-and-run. In this event, the insurance company will often consider the fleeing driver uninsured.
Whatever the specifics, if you are involved in an auto accident with a motorist who carries no insurance at all, you will likely need to cover your losses through your own insurance company. UIM coverage (uninsured motorist coverage) is normally an optional bolt-on protection. Only a handful of states mandate UIM coverage, although most states require insurers offer you this coverage.
In the worst scenario, you will need to pay for damages to your vehicle out of pocket if the other driver is uninsured and you cannot seek redress through your insurer.