As clients tell us their parking lot car accident stories, many explain that they didn’t call the police or exchange information with the other driver because it was on private property. But a parking lot accident should be handled the same way as you would any other accident.
The following will help you if you find yourself in this type of situation:
First, call the police; especially if you are injured and need an ambulance. If you feel that you don’t need an ambulance, call for the police regardless. Now, the police may inform you that they cannot come out because you are on private property, but simply ask them if they are willing to write a private incident report. This helps document the accident by an independent third party. Get a copy of the report number and make sure to ask which police department came out to take your statement.
Some police departments may inform you that they do not write private incident reports. If that is the case, you need to gather all the information a police officer would normally gather.
Evidence and Witnesses
While you’re at the scene of the accident, look at your surroundings. Take pictures of your vehicle and the other vehicle at the scene of the incident. Do you see any surveillance cameras close by? Do you see any witnesses? If so, after you’ve exchanged information with the other driver, speak to the witnesses. Get their contract information and ask them if they would be willing to write a statement about what they saw. If you do see surveillance cameras in the vicinity, ask if the owners will allow you to video the footage on your smartphone. If you do not have this capacity, get the owner’s contact information and them to save the recording until you have a chance to properly review the footage.
Lastly, call your attorney. Be prepared to give them all the information you collected. Remember, you are required to report all accidents to your auto insurance carrier. If you cause damage to another vehicle and the other driver is not present, leave a note on their dashboard with your contact information to avoid a potential hit-and-run claim against you. If they obtain video footage or a witness statement of you hitting their vehicle, you may be liable for that accident. If your vehicle was damaged when you were not present, and no note was left with the other driver’s contact information, you may not be held at fault, but you will likely be required to pay the deductible to have the damage repaired.
Accident Aftermath To Do List:
- Call the police and ask for a private incident report.
- Make sure that no one is in need of medical help.
- Gather all necessary info about the accident.
- Call your attorney and insurance company.