Backed up to quickly. Was not paying attention. Wind caught the car door. Took a turn to sharp. All of which are accidents that occur often to parked vehicles. There may not be witnesses around and the damages may be minor which makes it tempting to drive off, don’t do it. Abandoning the scene of even a minor accident can result in fines, criminal penalties, and the loss of your license. Even though car accidents may seem stressful, minor accidents do not have to be.
Wait for the owner
Misdemeanor, six points, revoked drivers license… all potential consequences of a hit an run. Thought the possibility of higher insurance rates was bad? Being found guilty of a hit and run is so much worse. Even if you did not see witnesses at the time of the accident, you can never be certain. After you hit a parked car, stay at the scene and wait by the vehicle for a decent amount of time to see if the owner returns to the vehicle. If after a reasonable amount of time goes by with still no sight of the owner, go looking for them. This may be intimidating but remember: misdemeanor, six points, revoked drivers license. Once you find the owner and explain the situation, understand that they may be shocked or frustrated. Stay calm. Reassure them that you take full responsibility for what happened and exchange contact and insurance information.
Leave a note
Sometimes, you simply cannot find the owner anywhere. In this case you must leave a note on the car before you leave the scene. When leaving a note on the vehicle make sure you provide them the following information:
- Your name
- How to contact you
- Who you have for insurance
- Explanation of what happened
- Highly recommend letting them know you tried finding them
Look for witnesses
If you see someone that witnessed the incident, get their witness statement. Having witness statements will help support your account on the accident. Be sure that the witness statement is either recorded or written down on paper. Then have them put their name and how to contact them down on paper as well.
We all have cameras in our pockets at this point. Grab a few photos of the accident for your records. Take as many photos as you need to capture the entire impact zone. Now, we all know that phones can get lost so we encourage you to print the photos off or send to an email account to keep track of them.
Call the police
In Michigan, if an accident with a parked car occurs in a parking lot on private property resulting in death, injury, and/or property damage exceeding $1,000, the it must be reported to the police. Either way, we encourage you to call the local police department to document and report the accident.
Contact your insurance company
You may be nervous to call the insurance company because of the fear your rates will go up. However, they will not go up just by admitting you hit another vehicle. A vehicle owner has two to three years to make a property damage claim. This means that the longer you wait to admit to the insurance company that you hit them, the likelihood of insurance denying the claim is much higher.
When in doubt, you can always call Auto Body Xperts to help guide you along the right path.