Although most of us like to think we’re pretty good drivers, even the best of us are capable of making a mistake. If that mistake involves damaging a parked car by scratching it or striking it with your vehicle and the other driver isn’t around, it’s important to take the right steps.

In this post from Suburban Auto Body in Minnesota, we’re breaking down everything you need to do when you’re involved in a car accident with a parked vehicle. Take these steps and then give us a call to get your car repaired with friendly, helpful service from our auto body and glass repair technicians.

Accidents Happen

The most important thing to remember about parked car accidents is that what you do after the collision matters just as much as the collision itself. Taking the right steps in the right order can help prevent the situation from becoming more serious than it is.

Unfortunately, most hit-and-runs that take place involve collisions with vehicles parked in parking lots resulting in needing support with items like bumper repair. When the individual in the offending vehicle sees that there is no one around to witness the accident, they often leave the scene without giving their information. But according to experts, that is exactly when the incident goes from being an innocent accident to a crime. In most states, leaving a parked car scene without contacting the driver can result in a serious fine or even jail time.

Before you do anything else, relax and remind yourself that parked vehicle accidents are extremely common.

        1. Stay Calm

One of the first things to remember if you have hit a parked vehicle is to make sure that you find a safe place to pull over and to check to see if there are any injuries for anyone in the car. If you find someone has been hurt, make sure you call 911 and turn on your flashers to inform other drivers to be cautious.

        2. Contact the Owner

If the damage to the other vehicle is extensive, you should stay and wait for the other driver or do everything you can to contact them inside the store. Additionally, keep a record of their vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number. Finally, if you see any witnesses, be sure to get their information and/or take a video of their explanation of events.

        3. Leave a Note

If the damage to the other vehicle is minor and you can’t easily locate the other driver, leave a note containing all of your information on their vehicle. If possible, snap a photo or video of the note you left so that you have a record of it. Include your name, phone number, address, license plate information, insurance information, and a brief explanation of the incident. Do not over-explain, as anything you leave in the note can be used against you in a legal disagreement.

4. Do Not Leave the Scene

Having this experience can be an unnerving situation, but you want to make sure that you don't leave the scene. This is because it can be considered a hit-and-run situation even with damage resulting in fender repair, it can turn into a criminal offense that could result in a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation.

5. Report the Incident

If damage is sustained, you also want to report it to the police. There are some states where this is a legal requirement, especially if you are unable to locate the owner of the vehicle. There can be penalties associated with this, especially if there are any injuries, and it is recommended to make the report within 30 minutes of the accident.

6. Look for Eyewitnesses

Another recommendation is to make sure that you speak to witnesses. This can help support the fact that you did not try to leave the scene and can help support your part of the experience. If you are uncomfortable approaching individuals in the area, you can always wait for the police to arrive and have them speak to them.

7. Speak to an Attorney

It is not a legal requirement to talk to an attorney, but it can be a good idea, especially if there is a large amount of damage and an auto body shop will be involved. Having a personal injury attorney can help minimize liability and support you while you are working through the claim with the other individual's insurance company.

        8. Take Several Photos

Use your phone to snap as many photos as necessary of the damage to both vehicles as well as the other driver’s license plate information. This will be helpful for your insurance company as well as the auto body technicians. If there are any extenuating circumstances such as barriers to visibility, be sure to document those as well.

9.Contact Your Auto Insurance Company

The first thing you should do as soon as possible after leaving is to give your insurance company a call right away. This kicks off the claims process so you can get your vehicle into the auto body repair shop as soon as possible.

Don’t wait until your vehicle is involved in an accident to be prepared! Program the number for Suburban Auto Body into your phone so you can get started on our Suburban EZ services the moment your vehicle needs collision repair. Give us a call at 651-633-8900 or contact us online to get a free quote on car accident repair. Thanks for trusting us with your vehicle!