What To Do If You Hit A Parked Car?

Parking slots at malls, groceries stores, churches, and event centers are usually crowded during weekends. If you are not careful, you may slam into a packed car when backing up. If this happens and you don’t see anyone and the impact are not too bad, you may be tempted to run away. Don’t do it.

Running away from even a scratch may lead to criminal penalties, fines, or loss of your driver’s license. But what if you back out from a crowded garage and notice a dent on your baby ride when you get home. And you’re worried if you have mistakenly bumped into or scratched a parked vehicle. What will you do in such cases?

If you unwillingly hit a car already parked, don’t run away. There are fines attached to it. This article will explain what to do if you hit a parked car.

unknowingly hit a parked car

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What To Do If You Hit A Parked Car

Here are a few things to do when you mistakenly hit a parked car.

Wait for the owner

We all understand that being faulty in a road accident affects insurance rates. But getting involved in a hit-and-run case is much worse. The authorities can add up to six points to your driver’s record, and you may face fines or criminal penalties. You may think there’s no witness on the scene, but you can’t be too sure.

Don’t drive away if you’re asking what to do if you hit a parked car in Ontario or your location. Instead, wait for some time for the vehicle’s owner to come so you tell him what transpired. If this happens in a church, mosque, or grocery store, go inside and look for the owner.

The scratched car owner may be furious when you explain what happened. But, relax; let the fellow calm down. You might do the same if you were in their shoes. Inform them and take responsibility for the damage and drop your insurance information and contact with them.

Drop a note

Usually, if you hit a parked vehicle, you should wait for or find the owner and explain what happened. If you can’t stay longer or find the car owner after some time, you need to leave a note explaining what happened. This is what to do if you hit a parked car in Carlifornia or other states.

The authorities understand there are situations it may be impossible to find the car owner. That’s why you’re legally required to drop a note before leaving the scene. After writing the note, pin it on the wiper. You may have to put the notice in a nylon if it rains. And please, do not say anything awful against yourself. Avoid phrases like “I’m still a learner, or I’m a terrible driver.”

The authorities require you to write your

  • Name
  • Home or business address
  • Mobile number
  • And briefly explain what transpired.

Please, keep it short and simple.

Report to the police

If you’re asking what are you supposed to do if a car parked by someone is hit causing damage and couldn’t find the owner? You don’t have to leave the scene without reporting to the authorities because you may be charged with a hit-and-run offense.

States like California and Florida requires you to provide your information to the police if you hit a car and drop your information. New York city authorities demand the driver to contact the police if he could not exchange information with the car owner.

The penalty becomes more severe if you cause damages or injuries. For example, the Illinois authorities demand you report a severe scratch within 30 to 45 minutes. If not, the authorities may charge you with a felony for running away from a crash without informing.

Capture the affected areas

Grab your smartphone or camera and take videos and photos. Capture the affected vehicle and the surrounding areas. If your phone has a camera timestamp, add it to the pictures and videos. This will be very important in case of another vehicle scratch the car even more, and the car owner demands you to fix it.

Talk to an eyewitness.

Check if there’s an eyewitness and talk to them and exchange contacts. However, some eyewitnesses will flee and may not respond after the crash. On the other hand, if you are shy or don’t feel okay speaking with strangers, wait behind for the authorities to arrive and report the issue and let them speak with the eyewitnesses.

Put your car insurer in the picture.

Even if the car owner did not call you back, after dropping a note with your address and contact info, do not relax and feel everything is okay. Do not leave your car insurance company behind the dark. The car owner has two to three years to lay damage claims, and the car insurer may not accept to bear the cost if you leave them in the dark.

Speak with your lawyer

It is not a crime to involve in a car crash, however, it creates an avenue for taking responsibility for your mistakes or actions. Always reach out to a car insurance attorney whenever you involve in a car collision. Your lawyer will collect damages, educate you on what to do, and help minimize liabilities.

Now that we have explained what to do if you hit a car and can’t find the owner. Let’s see what you should do if your parked car is hit and left damaged.

Read: How To Fix License Plate Light Wiring?

what happens if you hit a parked car and drive off

What to do when a parked car is hit?

If someone hits your car and stays at the scene, treat it like any car collision. Accidents do happen, and getting involved in one is not an offense. Meanwhile, stick around and look for an eyewitness if you do not find the person. Here are other things you need to know when someone hits your parked vehicle, either in a parking slot or on the street.

  • Leave your car on that spot.
  • Find the person that hit your car and exchange contact with him.
  • Capture the affected area, the whole vehicle, and the surroundings.
  • Call the authorities and report the accident.
  • Contact your insurance company and lay claims if necessary.

Kindly note that if someone hits your car and leaves without a note or exchanging contacts, it is considered a hit-and-run. Of course, this is a criminal offense and is punishable by law. Reach out to the authorities and file a report.

They may be able to catch the hit-and-run driver. Consult your insurance policy details to see if your policy covers hit-and-run. Some states will require collision or UMPD to cover the accident.

If the person leaves a note, it will cover their address, contact, and insurance company contact. Look for eyewitnesses who can give more info and reach out to their insurance company.

Read: How Long Can a Car Sit on a Flat Tire?

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q: Should I leave a note if I bump into a car?

If you hit a parked car and the owner is not around, do not leave. Instead, look for an eyewitness and explain the situation. After that, wait behind or look for the owner and explain what happens to him. If you don’t see the owner, leave a note on the bumped car explaining what happened. The letter should contain your name, address, phone number, and insurance company information.

Q: What happens if you unknowingly hit a car?

It is a hit-and-run crime if you mistakenly hit a car and leave without seeing the owner or leaving a note. While most states consider a hit-and-run case a misdemeanor, meaning it is less than a felony, it is still a severe case. You may be charged with a fine or prison penalty; depending on the state you hit the car in.

Q: What happens if someone bumps your car and leaves?

If someone bumps your car and runs, it is considered a hit-and-run. This is a severe crime, and you should talk to the authorities and report this act. The authorities may help you track the person and punish him based on the state law.

What document should you not leave in the car?

We understand that your baby ride is part of your daily life. This, however, may cause you to keep some stuff in the car and leave it behind. However, no matter how important your baby ride is, there are some important stuff you shouldn’t leave inside it.

For example, you shouldn’t leave medicines, electronics like laptops, valuables like jewelry, and essential documents like a driver’s license, proof of registration, and vehicle insurance papers inside your car.

Q: Is it worth claiming on car insurance for a scratch?

A small scratch or dent on a car does not require an insurance claim. It would be best to drive down to a mechanic and fix the scratch with your cash because the repair cost may be cheaper than the money you’ll spend on an insurance claim. However, if the scratch is severe and the repair cost is up to two thousand dollars, contact your insurance company and request them to repair the damages.

Q: How expensive is it to fix a car scratch?

The cost of fixing a car scratch lies on several factors like your car model, auto body shop, location, and the scratch’s severity. However, the average cost of fixing a car scratch ranges from $150 to $1,500. If the price exceeds this, contact your insurance company and request them to fix the scratch.

Q: Can I claim if someone scratches your car while parked?

If someone bumps into or scratches your parked car and you can figure out and prove who scratched it, the fellow’s insurance company will fix the car. On the other hand, if you can’t figure out or prove who bumped your baby ride, but you have UMPD or collision, you can lay an insurance claim and have your insurance company cover the damages.

Q: Does insurance go up if any parked car is hit?

Your insurance rate won’t increase if someone hits or scratches your car because you’re not at fault. However, filing your own insurance company may increase your rate. This invariably means you’re taking responsibility for the damages. But if you contact the authorities and let them catch the hit-and-run driver or fix the damages yourself, it won’t cause an insurance rate increase.

Q: Someone hit my parked car; whose insurance do I call?

Regardless of whose fault it is, always call your insurance company when you get involved in an accident. Of course, the other person should contact his insurance as well. However, it is none of your business if he chooses not to. Meanwhile, you should call your insurance company because they may have insurance policy that’ll benefit you.

Final Words

This article has explained what to do if you hit a parked car and what you should do if your parked car found hit and dented. This information is essential. Hence, you should follow it religiously because it can benefit you if you bump into a parked car or someone hits your car.

If, however, you disregard this information, it may cause you penalties paraventure you hit a car and leave without a note, insurance rate increase, or other issues. Always follow your state laws. Do not try to cut corners because it can be much worse if you get caught.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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