It happens every day. Someone walks out of a grocery store and discovers their car has a dent, a missing mirror, or even a broken window. They look around, but the responsible party is nowhere in sight—and there’s no note on the windshield. If this happens to you, learn what to do and how to get compensation for your property damage.
Steps to Take if Someone Hits Your Parked Car
If the person who damaged your car left a note, call them, and get their insurance details. You should then contact your own car insurance provider to report the incident and give them the name and information given to you. Your insurer will not want to cover damage caused by someone else, so they will either pay for the damage and seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver or walk you through the process of filing an insurance claim under someone else’s policy.
If the at-Fault Party Left No Note
- Check for witnesses. If your parked car was hit in a parking lot, on a city street, or another populated area, chances are someone saw what happened. If you can find someone who has information about the driver, collect their contact information, in case the police want their statement.
- Take pictures of the damage. It’s essential to take photos of the damage before moving your vehicle. Use your phone to get pictures of your car from multiple angles. Start close, and then move further away to show where you were parked and the position of the vehicle. This can be important later if the insurance company tries to pin liability on you.
- Contact the police. It’s against Massachusetts law to hit a parked vehicle without stopping. The person who hit you can be charged with fleeing the scene of an accident and face similar penalties for a hit-and-run. If your car is damaged, police can make a report, interview witnesses, and check security cameras in the area to track down the at-fault driver.
Will My Insurance Company Pay for the Damage?
If the other driver cannot be found, your own insurer can be called on to cover the damages. You should report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, so they can get the claims process started. The overall cost of the accident will depend on many factors.
What Factors Into the Cost of the Crash
- Your insurance policy. If you have purchased collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, the damage to your car will be covered. However, your insurer will only pay up to the policy limit you selected and may require you to pay your deductible.
- The amount of your deductible. Insurers may waive the deductible if you can identify the at-fault party, but in a hit-and-run crash, you might have to pay the deductible before your insurer covers the rest of the damages. If the total cost of your property damage is roughly equal to your deductible, it may not make sense to file a claim.
- Whether you were partially at fault. Insurers are generally not allowed to raise your insurance rates if you make a claim for an accident that was not your fault. However, if your damages are significant, your insurer will investigate the incident just as they would any other claim. They might increase your premiums if they believe that you were parked illegally, or you have filed similar claims in the past.
Your insurer should honor its commitment to you and pay your claim quickly and completely for an accident that was not your fault. If you’re struggling to get fair compensation, our law firm offers no-obligation consultations and represents you on a contingency fee basis.