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What To Do When Someone Hits a Parked Car and Leaves in California? (2024)

What To Do When Someone Hits a Parked Car and Leaves in California? (2024)
Christian J. Amendt

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.

Steps to Take in A Parked 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:

  • Remain Calm and Look for Evidence First, look to see if the other driver left you a note. The other driver may have left contact information that will enable you to file with their insurance provider. If you can’t find a note, check for nearby security cameras or people who may have witnessed the accident. This may be essential evidence in tracking down the at-fault driver.
  • Take Pictures of Your Car Don’t move your car from where it was hit. Take multiple photos of the damage to your car from different angles and other evidence, like skid marks. If the at-fault driver or their vehicle is present, take pictures of their car and license plate. These photos are essential evidence for a car accident attorney and insurance providers.
  • Call the Police No matter if the other driver is present on the scene or not, you should contact the police department so that an accident report can be filed. A police report is useful evidence in an insurance claim. The police may also be able to assist in accessing security tapes around the area. An attorney may also have the resources to obtain security footage. Nearby cameras may have caught the accident, the car’s license plate, or other invaluable information.
  • File a Claim with Your Insurance Company The police may help you find the at-fault driver. If you don’t have the other driver’s contact information, you can’t file a claim with their insurance provider, and you need to file with yours. That way, you don’t have to handle the entire car repair cost. If you don’t have collision insurance or your situation isn’t covered, you’ll have to pay for repairs out of pocket. In order to file with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, the driver needs to be found.
  • Talk With a Car Accident Attorney An attorney may be able to gain you compensation for property damage. You should not be liable for damage that you didn’t cause. If your insurance company is refusing to cover repair costs, professional legal counsel will be necessary to receive the compensation you deserve.

What To Do If You Hit a Parked Car

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:

  • Were involved in an accident while you were driving a vehicle
  • Caused property damages because of the accident
  • Knew or ought to have known that damage was caused by the accident
  • Willfully failed to stop when it occurred or neglected to give the owner of the other car identifying information

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.

FAQs About Parked Car Hit and Run in California

How Do I Report a Hit-and-Run with a Parked Car in CA?

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.

Is Hitting a Parked Car and Leaving Considered a Hit-and-Run in CA?

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.

Does Your Insurance go up if Someone Hits Your Parked Car in CA?

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 a car accident attorney may help find the at-fault driver or prove that you were not the cause of the accident.

Who Is Responsible if You Hit an Illegally Parked Car in CA?

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.

Filing for Damages with a Car Accident Attorney

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.

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