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If your car was vacant when it was hit, you will still want to reach out to local law enforcement to file an accident report. Hopefully, the other driver left a note that provides complete contact information. If not, are there witnesses in the immediate area that can help by sharing what they saw? Or perhaps there are security cameras at nearby businesses that can share what their video feed captured?
Working with an experienced attorney will help secure such things as eyewitness statements and video feed captures more efficiently. How the incident is handled from the start can affect the final settlement outcome for the driver of the damaged parked car.
First Steps Following an Accident with a Parked Car
As soon as someone notices damage to their parked car, they need to gather and preserve evidence. Any driver of a car that has been hit by a truck needs to also ensure they protect their rights. Next steps for the damaged parked car’s owner include:
Stay at the scene.
Don’t get in the damaged parked car and drive away. If you were physically on the scene when the accident happened and the other driver leaves, it might be tempting to try and catch them. Leaving the scene might cause more damage or could put you in danger. You might end up losing key pieces of evidence as well. It is important to stay on the scene of the incident until all the necessary information can be gathered and documented.
Get medical attention.
If you or anyone else were in the parked car when it was hit, be sure to get checked out by emergency medical personnel or a doctor right away. Even if it seems as if there are no injuries, leave it to the medical experts to make sure.
Call the police.
Some states require the owner of the damaged car to file a police report. This is true even if all they have is a written note from the other driver placed on their windshield or no other driver information at all. An official police report will help prove that an accident occurred, as well as documenting and preserving important evidence found at the accident scene.
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Talk to witnesses.
Try to get as much information as possible from anyone who saw what happened. This should include the names and contact information of each witness.
Take note of the time and location, take photos, and access any video feeds.
Recording the accident’s details is a vital part of proving fault in an accident with a parked car. Be sure to take note of the license plate number of the other driver’s vehicle and any identifying company information that might be on it. An attorney can help you gain access to any available surveillance video that nearby businesses may have to share as well.
Get the other driver’s information.
If you talk with the driver who hit your parked car, be sure to get their insurance information and contact details. In the case of a commercial vehicle, find out their employer’s company information. Your claim will involve both the company’s and the driver’s insurance coverage.
Contact your own insurance company.
By notifying your own insurance company as soon as possible, the claims process can get underway more quickly. If you cannot identify the driver who hit your parked car, either because the accident happened while you were not present or the other driver did not leave a note and left the scene, filing a claim with your own insurance may be the only way you can recover your damages and losses.
What If the Driver Doesn’t Leave a Note After an Accident with a Parked Car?
If your parked car was hit by a truck
, and the driver has left the scene without leaving a note, this could result in being classified as a hit and run incident. A hit and run is a serious legal offense in most states. The driver who ran could face fines, and even jail time, if caught and proven guilty.
There are statutes in place throughout the country that define the duty of a driver that hits another’s car.
For example, according to New Mexico law
, “The driver of any vehicle which collides with any vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances thereof.”
Simply put, this means the driver who hit your parked car must either find you or, at the very least, leave a note.
Next Steps: Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
While much depends on the specifics involved in your parked car accident when hit by a truck, an experienced auto accident attorney will:
- Communicate with the other driver's insurance provider
- Put together all the needed evidence to prove fault in the accident
- Compile your medical records and bills, and get copies of any missing records or bills from your health care providers for anyone that was inside the car and injured when it was hit
- Coordinate with victims’ doctors to be sure they provide the medical information that is necessary to prove your claim’s damages and losses
- Help get estimates for what it would take to get your car fixed, or replaced if it was totaled, along with the costs for a rental car if your car is undrivable
- Prepare and present evidence that proves liability, damages, and losses for your claim
- Negotiate a fair and just settlement with the insurance adjuster or attorney for the driver and the company they work for
Keep in mind that after being hit by a truck or any commercial vehicle, it can take months or even years to reach a claim settlement
or any type of resolution.
A skilled auto accident attorney will help ensure that the final settlement amount is the fairest possible to cover the damages and losses experienced. This is true whether or not there was anyone in the parked car, and regardless of the presence or extent of injuries suffered.
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Kane Personal Injury in Las Cruces
is a law firm with extensive experience in dealing with an insurance company’s attorneys and any of the other driver’s representatives. The firm knows what information to include in your claim’s official demand letter
and how to see a case through to a successful conclusion.
Can you handle the auto accident claim yourself? Perhaps. But remember, once you agree to a final settlement and all signatures are in place, there is no going back.
Once signed, you have agreed that the amount is adequate to cover all your past, current, and future needs that have resulted from the accident. Working with experienced auto accident attorneys like Kane Personal Injury can ensure that your settlement includes all of what you need to replace lost or damaged property, heal and recover, and once again be whole.
Please note that this article was created for advertisement purposes, and it does not constitute any contractual legal relationship, nor imply one.