If you have approached your parked car only to see that your vehicle has been damaged or scratched, and there is no one around, it means you have become a victim of a hit-and-run accident (or was it really an accident?).
If another driver hit your parked car and fled the scene, recovering damages may be a complicated process. However, our car accident lawyer in Los Angeles from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg knows how to make it easier. We know the legal tricks and techniques that must be used in order to get compensated for the property damage.
Check if there is a note
Before you get angry or panic, check if there is a note under the windshield wiper. Although there is an insignificant number of people who leave notes after a hit and run accident with a parked car, it is a good idea to check if there is a note under the windshield wiper (or any other visible place).
Did you see the car that hit your parked vehicle?
It also often happens that drivers whose parked car was hit by another vehicle witness the accident or the other driver actually waited for them to arrive. If this is the case, do not let rage take over you. Stay calm and approach the driver. If he or she chose to stay at the scene, chances are he or she is willing to compensate for your damages, so it is a good start.
In fact, the other driver is probably as frustrated as you are, so make sure you do not get furious. Even though that driver may offer you to compensate for the damages without having to call the police or report to insurance companies, collect the following information anyway: the driver’s name, address, phone number and other contact information, his/her license plate number, and insurance information.
Check for potential witnesses
If you did not witness the hit-and-run accident involving your parked car, and if there is no car driver to blame for the accident around, check the area for potential witnesses. Ask around those who have been in the area for a long period of time (i.e. parked taxi drivers, restaurant and café staff and visitors, fast food staff, parking valet, etc.).
If you find any witnesses, contact their information, as their testimony can be critical during a police or insurance investigation. If you are represented by an experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, you may be able to get access to nearby surveillance cameras, which are even more valuable than witness accounts.
Take photos of the damage
Regardless of whether the other driver fled the scene or waited for your arrival, take photos of the damage to both cars. This step is crucial, as documenting your damage at the scene can increase your chance of recovering damages.
Call the cops
Contacting police after a car accident in California is required by law if there was more than $1,000 in property damage. If it is not possible to evaluate the damages straight away, contact police anyway. In addition to getting a police report, which can help you recover damages and establish liability later on, witnesses are more likely to answer questions from a police officer than you.
Contact your insurance company
Reporting a hit-and-run accident to your insurance company can be quite tricky, as insurers are generally not eager to compensate for your damages. They will find excuses to pay you as little as possible, which is why you need to consult with a Los Angeles car accident attorney prior to speaking to your insurance company.
Contact the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to schedule a free consultation with our skilled lawyers. We know how to help you recover compensation after a hit-and-run accident with your parked car. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 or complete this contact form.