Accidents in Parking Lots
It’s easy to make mistakes in parking lots. So many cars packed tightly together can easily cause small or large collisions while backing out or parking. After you realize you hit a parked car, a lot can cross your mind, but it is crucial not to panic.
The first thought that may cross your mind is to drive away, and pretend nothing happened, but it cannot be emphasized enough just how bad of an idea this is. Even if the damage seems minor, driving away can result in you being charged with striking an unattended vehicle, the punishment for which varies by the state. If another customer or surveillance camera spots you driving away, they may report you and you would end up paying for the damage and criminally charged.
The best thing to do is try to track down the owner of the car. The customer service desk of the store might be able to help with this by making an announcement of the loudspeaker. If you are unable to locate the car owner, leave a note for them to find when they get back. The note should include your contact information such as name and phone number and should be left in a clearly visible place on the car like the windshield.
It’s always a good idea to take a picture of the license plate and damage on the other car, and this is made easy in the age where everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times in the form of a smartphone. Having your own pictures of the damage will protect you from any claim that you did more damage then you truly did by the owner of the car.
Depending on the extent of the damage, it is usually a good idea to also call the police and report the accident. The police will be able to help you find the owner of the car and will document the accident so that there is no later discrepancy over the amount of the damage.
After an accident, it is always a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer Dekalb County GA relies on to make sure that you fully understand your rights. When insurance companies get involved, even a minor accident can start to get very complicated. Find a skilled auto accident attorney to represent you in any settlement negotiations with an insurance company that results from a parking lot accident.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into accidents in parking lots.