When a driver hits your parked car and flees

Usually when you drive somewhere, the biggest headache you have to deal with is finding somewhere to park. Let’s say that after leaving the parking lot and going to your destination, you come back to your car only to find that it has been struck by another vehicle—and the driver is nowhere in sight. That's right: Your car has been damaged in a hit-and-run accident.

A hit-and-run is when someone causes an accident and leaves the scene without fulfilling their legal obligations to the victim. In most states, a driver who hits a parked car is required by law to make a reasonable effort to find the car’s owner. If they can’t find the owner, the driver must leave a written notice with their contact information. Not all people are this considerate, though. There are many incidents when the perpetrator of an accident will flee the scene, thinking they can avoid any penalties. So when your parked car is damaged in a hit-and-run, what should you do?

Stay at the scene

Do not try to drive off and find the person who hit your car. Instead, remain at the scene with your vehicle.

Find any witnesses

If there are any people nearby who witnessed the hit-and-run, ask them about the details of the accident and get their contact information.

Contact the authorities

If there is major damage or someone has been injured, call 911 immediately. If no one has been hurt and you just need to file a police report, you can contact the police department's non-emergency number. 

Record the date and time

Make note of the date, time and location of the incident.

Document the scene

Gather evidence of the hit-and-run by taking photographs of your car and the surrounding area. Get pictures from as many angles as possible, and capture as many details as you can.

Contact an attorney

Before you contact your insurance company, consult with a local attorney who is experienced in hit-and-run car accidents.

Notify your insurance provider

Once your attorney has advised you how to proceed, notify your insurance company that you have been the victim of an accident.

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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