Parking lot accidents are very common in California, but there are basic steps you should take if you find yourself in this situation. These basic, but important, rules in terms of dealing with parking lot accidents and liability should be your first course of action.
If you are ever involved in a parking lot collision keep your car where it is, and use your camera phone. You should obtain both close-up and from-a-distance photos of the vehicles as they were upon impact. The photos should detail where the vehicles were in relation to each other and to the parking lot where the collision happened.
Get the other person’s information
If having the police there is out of the question, the responsibility to exchange insurance and contact information falls squarely on those involved. Writing down information off of a car insurance card may not be enough. The insured will most times be the owner of the car, but what happens if the person driving isn’t the cars owner? Write down the name and address on the driver’s license to be sure you have the driver’s contact information. It’s impossible to pursue court damages for someone if you don’t have anything to identify the person with.
Keep your identity yours!
In parking lot accidents, emotions can run high – even if they are only minor. So remembering that your phone number, address and insurance information are all you need to give to the other party is important. Anyone who asks for your Social Security number or other private, unrelated information should raise an eyebrow.
No one needs your date of birth or Social Security number to get in touch with you, or to file a claim with your insurance company – so keep sensitive personal information to yourself.
To claim or not to claim
If you sustained any sort of bodily injury or substantial vehicle damage, you’ll want to file an insurance claim as soon as possible. In fact, if you are at fault in the accident, failing to report it could be a violation of the terms of your insurance contract. But there are scenarios where there is no damage to the vehicles and or persons involved in the accident. In this case it may be best to not claim the incident and get something in writing that clears all parties of any liability.
He said, She said
In the instance where there is a dispute over how the parking lot accident happened, the only option is court, but you should first weigh the legal fees you could be facing versus the potential payout you could receive.
If you ever find yourself involved in a parking lot accident following the above plan of action will keep you on track for the easiest resolution!