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Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left, What Do I Do?

Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left

You're relaxing Friday evening with your friend at a shopping center. Things were going great until you found your car in a parking lot with a broken taillight and damaged bumper. It turns out someone hit your parked car and left. What do you do now? Here are some tips and information on handling property damage from a hit-and-run accident.

Hit-and-Run Accidents

hit-and-run accident occurs when someone leaves the accident scene without stopping to meet legal duties. When a driver hits a parked car, they must make a reasonable effort to identify the vehicle's owner and leave a written notice. Every state has its own traffic laws covering hit-and-run accidents. If someone has hit your parked car, stay at the scene, and gather as much information as possible.

Things To Do Immediately at the Scene

As soon as you find your vehicle damaged, follow the below steps to preserve evidence and protect your rights:

  1. Stay at the scene: It may be tempting to immediately drive off to catch the person who hit your car. But you may lose important evidence by doing so. So, don't leave the scene until you have gathered all the necessary information. If possible, attempt to get the license plate number or any other identifying information of the perpetrating car as it drives away.
  2. Talk to any witnesses: Look around for any witnesses and get their names and contact information. See if there are any security cameras nearby that may have captured the incident. If you find any, ask the property owner for a copy of the footage and to preserve the video until your attorney can request it.
  3. Call the police department: Some states require you to file a police report, even if there is a written note from the other driver. The official accident report can be used to preserve any evidence found at the scene.
  4. Record the time and location: Make a note of the time and location of the auto accident.
  5. Take accident photos: You should take photos of the accident scene. Get multiple pictures from various angles, including general views and close-ups. If there's evidence of the other car's painting or marks, take a close-up photo of that as well.
  6. Contact your insurance company: You should notify your insurance company that you've been in an accident. By contacting them as soon as possible, you can help expedite your claims process.

File a Claim: Handling a Hit-and-Run Accident

If you can identify the driver who hit your car, get their insurance company information. You should then file a third-party claim with their insurance company. This way, you will be able to recover damages under the other driver's policy.

If you cannot find the person who hit your car, you'll have to file a claim with your own insurance company. Generally, uninsured motorist coverage compensates drivers for hit-and-run accidents. However, not all states require you to have uninsured motorist coverage. Check with your insurance company to find out which type of coverage will cover you for hit-and-run accidents.


Below, we will go over some car insurance coverage questions that commonly occur after a motor vehicle accident when one motorist hits a parked vehicle and then leaves the scene of the accident.

Q: What does my insurance policy cover in a hit-and-run scenario?

Your coverage in a hit-and-run accident varies depending on the specific terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Collision coverage, often included in most standard auto insurance policies, should cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle even if the at-fault driver cannot be identified.

In addition, underinsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage, if you have it, can kick in to cover the cost of repairs. This coverage is designed specifically for instances where:

  • The at-fault driver is either unidentified, as in a hit-and-run
  • The at-fault driver is identified but does not have auto insurance

You should reach out to your insurance provider directly to learn about the specific protections offered under your policy regarding a hit-and-run accident.

Q: Will filing an insurance claim for a hit-and-run accident raise my insurance premium?

The impact of filing a claim on your insurance premium generally depends on the policies of your insurance provider and the specifics of your situation. However, insurance providers typically differentiate between at-fault and not-at-fault claims.

In a hit-and-run situation, you are clearly not the at-fault party; thus, it may not affect your premium. Some insurance companies even offer accident forgiveness programs. These can prevent a rate increase after your first at-fault accident or a not-at-fault claim. Nonetheless, it is best to contact your insurance provider directly for clarification on this matter.

Q: What happens if the at-fault driver is found but doesn't have insurance?

If the at-fault driver is identified but does not have insurance, you may be able to use your Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage if you have it in your policy. This coverage is designed to cover vehicle damage when the at-fault driver lacks insurance. However, the availability and limitations of this coverage can vary greatly by state and policy.

You may also consider taking legal action against the at-fault driver to recover the damages. Consulting with an attorney could provide guidance based on your specific situation and local laws.

Q: If the other driver's insurance information is unknown, how does my insurance company handle my claim?

In cases where the other driver's insurance information is unknown, your insurance company will generally treat this as an uninsured motorist claim if you have that coverage in your policy. If you also have collision coverage, your insurance provider may cover the cost of repairing your vehicle minus the deductible. The deductible is the amount you're responsible for paying before your insurance benefits start to cover costs.

You should speak with an attorney to understand your insurance policy's specific terms, conditions, and deductible amounts to avoid any surprises during the claims process.

Q: Can the at-fault driver face legal consequences for a hit-and-run?

Yes, a driver involved in an accident who leaves the scene without providing the necessary information is breaking the law. This action is typically classified as a misdemeanor. Depending on the severity of the accident and the jurisdiction, it can be elevated to a felony.

Penalties may include:

  • Fines
  • The loss of the driver's license
  • In some cases, incarceration

Q: What details should I include in my photos of the damage?

When taking photos of the damage, be comprehensive. Include wide shots that show the overall scene and closer shots that focus on specific damage to your vehicle. Look for and document any evidence that might indicate the other vehicle's involvement, such as:

  • Paint scuffs from the other vehicle
  • Broken parts that may have come from the other vehicle
  • Tire marks that could suggest the direction from which the vehicle came or fled

If possible, include different angles and lighting conditions to capture the full extent of the damage.

Also, remember to take photographs of the scene of an accident. This can include:

  • Any CCTV cameras that might have captured the accident
  • The location where your car was parked
  • Any road signs or landmarks that might help identify the location

Q: What if someone hits my parked car, and I don't have Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage?

If you lack uninsured motorist property damage or collision coverage, you might have to bear the cost of repairs to your vehicle yourself. It's essential to understand what your current policy covers so you can take appropriate measures to prevent such situations.

If you find that your policy does not include uninsured motorist property damage or collision coverage, it could be worth discussing with your insurance agent about adding these coverages. They can provide more information on the costs associated with adding these options and how it could protect you in the event of future accidents.

Remember, while these additional coverages may increase your premium, they could potentially save you significant costs in the event of a hit-and-run.

Someone Hit Your Parked Car and Left? Get Legal Advice From a Personal Injury Lawyer

Handling the aftermath of a hit-and-run incident can be a challenging and stressful experience. The immediate shock and frustration are often followed by confusion and uncertainty about the next steps. However, it's best to stay calm, gather as much evidence as you can, and act quickly and responsibly.

Even if the driver took off after hitting your car, you can recover damages as long as you follow the proper procedures. Speak with an experienced car accident attorney who will be able to guide you through the claims process to maximize the damages you recover.

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