What Should I Do If I Hit A Parked Car?

Many things can go wrong when you are driving, especially if you are driving in a busy place like Washington. One example of a very mild car accident is accidentally hitting a parked car on the side of the road or in a parking lot.

Getting into this kind of accident doesn’t have to come with significant legal implications as long as you follow the proper steps. You need to do certain things after hitting a parked car to protect yourself and follow the law.

At NBF Accident Law, our team of auto accident attorneys has handled hundreds of auto accident cases. We understand that getting into a car accident is an overwhelming process, and we are here to help you get the best possible outcome.

Contact the Car Owner

If you hit a parked car while driving, the first thing you need to do is pull over and try to contact the vehicle’s owner. If the owner is nowhere to be found, you may be able to wait until they come back to their car.

If the car is parked near a business, you may want to go inside to see if you can find the owner of the vehicle. Remember to stay calm and be as polite as possible. The owner of the car will most likely be shocked and may get angry at the moment.

If you can’t find the owner and have waited for a reasonable amount of time, you can also leave a note on the car. Make sure you place it in a spot where they will see it and where it is secure until they come back. Your note should include your name, contact information, auto insurance policy information, and a brief explanation of what happened.

As long as you leave a note, you can legally leave the scene of the accident and wait to see if the owner of the vehicle contacts you.

Document Evidence

After hitting a parked car, you want to document this auto accident by taking pictures of the damage done to your vehicle and the other vehicle. Doing this will protect you from the other driver accusing you of doing additional damage to their car.

You should also take photos of the license plate number and the area where the accident occurred. For instance, if the other driver did not park correctly, taking a picture of this can help support your case.

Take a look around the scene of the accident to see if any stores are nearby. Stores and parking lots often have security cameras, and you may be able to request security footage later on.

Call the Police

In Washington, drivers are required to file a report if the damage to personal property is greater than $1000. In most situations involving a parked car, the damage will not be to this extent, but you may still want to contact the police just to be on the safe side.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Another step you need to take is to contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident. Most insurance providers require this and provide a strict timeline for you to contact them. If you fail to tell your insurance provider, they could refuse the insurance claim later on.

Hire an Attorney

Even if there wasn’t much damage done to the parked vehicle, you still want to be proactive and protect yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to hire a car accident lawyer who can represent you and guide you through the legal process.

An attorney can help you negotiate with involved parties and navigate complex insurance issues. They can also help you understand your rights if the other car owner wants to file a claim to get compensation.

Legal Implications of Hitting a Parked Car

If you hit a parked car in Washington and follow all of the steps above, this is usually a very straightforward process. The other car owner may file a claim with your insurance company so that they can cover any damage that was sustained. This situation is not serious and will not usually have any legal implications.

However, if you fail to follow the steps above and simply leave the scene of the accident, this will be categorized as a hit-and-run. Hit-and-run accidents are much more severe and can come with serious consequences.

  • Hit-and-run attended: A hit-and-run attended accident is when you hit a vehicle where the other person is inside, but you do not stop to exchange information. This will result in a gross misdemeanor hit-and-run charge with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $5000 fine.
  • Hit-and-run unattended: A hit-and-run unattended charge is when you hit a parked vehicle when the car owner is not present. If you do not leave your information and simply leave the accident scene, this is a misdemeanor where you can receive up to 90 days in jail and up to $1000 in fines.
  • Hit-and-run property damage: A hit-and-run involving property damage comes with misdemeanor charges in Washington.
  • Hit-and-run death or injury: If you fail to exchange information after hitting a parked vehicle and the other car owner is injured, this is a class C felony that comes with a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the hit-and-run results in a death, this is a class B felony that could result in up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney today at NBF Accident Law

Hitting a parked car can feel very stressful, especially if you do not know what to do next. If this happens, you must follow the steps above and give the other car owner your information.

At NBF Accident Law, our car accident attorneys fight purposefully for our clients and help them get the best possible outcome. We can help you follow the proper steps after hitting a parked car so that you won’t face any serious legal implications.

Contact us today at (206)-923-8888 to schedule a consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.