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Parking lot car accidents and crashes can be just as costly as those that occur on roadways. In many cases, they can be just as serious.
In one recent incident in Florida, former Orlando Magic player Chris Duhon was the victim of a hit-and-run in a parking garage, Orlando's WOFL-TV reports. It resulted in the ex-NBA player spending the night in a hospital; the driver who hit him could face criminal charges if caught.
Of course, not all parking lot accidents result in injuries or criminal consequences. But even minor dings and dents are still measurable damages to your car. Here are five tips that can help you deal with parking lot accidents:
1. Keep Calm and Call for Help.
If you're involved in a fender bender in the parking lot, your first instinct may be to offer the other driver a helpful expletive or obscene hand gesture before racing off. Ignore this impulse, call for help from a nearby driver or pedestrian, and do not leave the scene after an accident has occurred.
Leaving the scene could end with you facing criminal charges in addition to the damage due to the accident.
2. Check for Injuries and Damage.
First and foremost, ensure that you and your passengers are not seriously injured -- or even the other driver. If anyone appears hurt, call 911.
After dealing with injuries, evaluate the damage to your car and take photos with an available camera or smartphone.
3. Exchange Information With the Driver(s) Involved.
Calmly attempt to exchange information with the other driver(s) after a parking lot accident, keeping in mind he or she may not be in the best mood.
Not only is this practice often mandated by state law, but having the other driver's insurance, license, and vehicle information will help resolve any future claims for damage.
4. Record Details and Witnesses.
Make sure to document details about the condition of the parking lot, the lighting, the time of the accident, and a description of the other driver's car -- especially if he or she left the scene without exchanging information.
Get the names and contact information of any nearby witnesses whose memory or accounts may be crucial in recreating the scene. You may also want to check with the owner of the parking lot; perhaps surveillance footage is available that shows exactly what happened.
5. File a Claim for Damages.
After collecting information and safely leaving the scene, contact your insurance company and file a claim for the damage to your car. If you do not have car insurance, or the damage is far less than your insurance deductible, consider resolving the issue in small claims court.
Have you been involved in a parking lot accident and still have questions? Consult with an experienced car accident attorney in your area today.