There are few things that can put a damper on a stressful day like coming out of work or running an errand to find that someone hit your parked car and left. From small scratches to large dents, having to deal with the situation can be time-consuming and costly. Is there anything you can do to hold the wrongdoer accountable?
What is the law in Florida about hitting a parked car?
Florida Statutes section 316.062 establishes that all drivers of any motor vehicle involved in a crash that causes damage to another vehicle or someone else’s property has a duty to provide certain information. This includes:
- Their name
- VIN of their car
If the owner of the parked car is not around and there is no police officer who showed up at the scene of the accident, the driver has to report the crash to the nearest police officer or police department. Failing to comply with this law is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
What to Do If Someone Hits Your Parked Car & Leaves the Scene
Granted, just because the law requires someone to do something, doesn’t mean they will. If you find damage to your car and there’s no note or information available from the nearest police department, it’s going to be up to you to try to track down the person. To do that:
- Take pictures of the damage to your car.
- Take pictures of the location where your car is parked.
- Check to see if any nearby homes or businesses have surveillance cameras.
- If there were any witnesses, write down their full names and contact information.
- Get estimates for the costs of repairs.
- Contact an experienced car accident attorney.
In order for a business to preserve surveillance footage, the person who needs it has to request it in writing. You need to ask for this information as soon as possible, since it’s common practice for businesses to delete footage after a specific period of time.
If there’s a security guard nearby, ask them whether they saw anything. If they didn’t, an attorney will be able to request that the security company provide a log of names and previous shifts for the purpose of locating possible witnesses.
If all else fails, and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. If you’re worried that doing so will make your insurance costs increase, be aware that an insurer may only raise premiums if you were found substantially at fault for the accident.
How an Attorney Can Help
If someone hit your parked car and left the scene, it can feel like an uphill battle to gather the necessary information to be compensated for your damages. Fortunately, an attorney can help you with the process and ensure you receive the best payout possible. In the discovery process, your lawyer will schedule depositions of opposing parties, witnesses, and any experts who can help determine fault. During deposition, parties involved must answer questions under oath that have been prepared by the lawyer. If anyone under questioning has an attorney, that attorney can object to questions they deem inappropriate or irrelevant to the case.
After questioning, the parties can begin the settlement negotiations. If no settlement is reached, the case will move to trial. This is another point where an experienced attorney is invaluable, as they will present the evidence collected throughout the discovery process and assist you in receiving the maximum payout possible.
Call us at Clark Law for a Consultation
If someone hit your parked car and left, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. The longer you wait, the higher the chances that you may lose out on your ability to file for certain types of damages, or on your ability to obtain reliable evidence for your case.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.