California is a dangerous state to drive in due to its high population, high-traffic roads, and uninsured drivers. However, many drivers expect damage to their cars to occur on the road, and this isn’t always the case. It’s frustrating to return to your parked car only to find that it’s been hit. If the person who caused the damage didn’t leave you a note, your next steps could feel overwhelming, and you may not know what you should do. It’s useful to know what to do if your car is parked and involved in a hit-and-run.
If your parked car is hit, there are steps you want to take to gain the compensation you deserve. If you see the accident, you should try to get the information you need from the other driver. If you didn’t witness the accident, here is what you should do:
Hitting a parked car, causing property damage, and leaving the scene with no identification is considered a hit-and-run. If you hit a car and there’s no one in it, it’s in your interest to find the owner of the car. You want to show them your license and vehicle registration and give them valid contact details. If you’re unable to locate them, leave them a note that describes the situation and gives your phone number and name. The other driver will then use this information to file a claim with your insurance provider to cover the damage you caused.
If you leave without providing any information, you are guilty of a hit-and-run. In order to convict you of this, it must be proven that you:
California law classifies this type of hit-and-run as a misdemeanor. Penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Call the police department. Whether the other driver is still present or not, a police report is useful evidence. If the driver isn’t there and didn’t leave any contact information, then a hit-and-run crime has occurred, and you certainly need a police report. The police department may also assist in gaining access to security footage.
Yes. A hit-and-run occurred when you were involved in a car accident while driving, caused damage to another person’s property, knew that you were in that accident and caused damage, and willingly failed to stop or give information to the owner of the property. If you caused damage to a parked car and left without providing identifying information, you may be charged with a hit-and-run misdemeanor.
If you are able to file a claim with the at-fault driver, it’s unlikely your rate will increase. If you can’t find the other driver and have to file with your insurance provider, this may impact your insurance rates. Working with an attorney may help find the at-fault driver or prove that you were not the cause of the accident.
Even if a car is parked illegally, hitting a parked car is considered careless and negligent driving. You and the other driver both share fault for the accident. Because California operates under pure comparative fault, you can still file a claim for damages even if you were 99% responsible. However, those damages are reduced by the same amount. If you hit an illegally parked car, both you and the other driver can file for damages with each other’s insurance providers.
Being a victim of a hit-and-run can be scary, but know that working with a qualified attorney can right the damages you’ve suffered. Contact Amendt Law today to see how our attorneys can help you find the at-fault driver and negotiate a claim settlement.