Drivers fill out an accident statement report after having a parking lot accident.

Accidents happen. Hitting a parked car is annoying, embarrassing, and can even get you into trouble. Hitting a parked car and driving off constitutes as a hit and run. In Florida, a hit and run that results only in property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor that can net you up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. You can also get 3 to 6 points on your license, and your insurance premiums are likely to dramatically increase. So, what should you do after hitting a parked car?

  1. Pull over safely and park your vehicle. Do not drive away; chances are you will be caught. Most parking lots now have surveillance cameras that may have recorded the incident. Even if there is no visible damage, you could still be in trouble.
  2. Check both vehicles for damage. Use your phone to take pictures of the damage to both vehicles. This will help make sure that the other driver doesn’t try to blame you for damage that happens later.
  3. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  4. Report the accident to the police. Florida law requires you to report all accidents to the police even if there is no damage or injury.
  5. Attempt to find the owner. You should make a reasonable attempt to find the owner of the vehicle; this can be hard but you should at least make an effort. If you can’t find them in a reasonable amount of time, or if you really genuinely need to get out of there, you can leave a note with what happened and your contact information. Ideally, though, you should stay until the police get there. If possible, put the note in a sandwich bag and write it with a ballpoint pen, not sharpie or pencil. Don’t apologize or admit fault. The note should contain your name, address, phone number and a brief explanation of what happened.
  6. Call your insurance company and notify them about the accident. You should also consider calling an attorney, especially if there was a lot of damage to the other vehicle.
  7. Get yourself checked out by a doctor even if you don’t have any pain. Whiplash is very common in low-speed accidents and symptoms may not show up for hours, or even days. Prompt treatment can make a huge difference to your recovery speed.
  8. Be aware that you are almost certainly going to be found at fault for the accident. If you swerved to avoid a pedestrian or animal or if the car was parked illegally or dangerously then you may have a case and you should absolutely get a lawyer. This makes it particularly important to talk to your insurance company, but be ready to pay something. Generally, it is not a good idea to settle with the other driver without involving your insurance company. Insurance companies expect all accidents to be reported to them.
  9. If there is any damage to your vehicle, take it to a Miami auto body shop as soon as you can so you can get it fixed. If the damage makes it unsafe to drive your car, then stay on the scene and call for a tow truck; don’t try to drive if you don’t feel safe doing so.

Hitting a parked car can be damaging to your own car. Most often this will be a minor ding or dent, which a Miami Geico repair facility can deal with easily. You should not attempt to fix your car’s bodywork yourself unless you are an expert; many drivers try this and wind up doing more damage. To get your car fixed, contact Tropical Chevrolet Collision Center. We can assess the damage to your car and return it to its pre-accident condition quickly and easily.

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