Parking your car on a city street or a public or private parking lot is something that most motorists do every day without worry. That is, until the day when you arrive back at your vehicle after work, shopping or dinner to find that your car has been struck by another vehicle and the other driver has left the scene of the accident. If or when this happens to you, the following information can help you find the offender and take legal steps to recoup the cost of the damage and have them charged with leaving the scene of the accident.
Document the scene before moving your car
Pictures are worth a thousand words and in a case involving a hit and run accident, they may be even more valuable. If you find that your car has been damaged, use your smart phone to document the damage from several angles. If there are tire marks or other possible clues at the scene, be sure to also document those, as well.
In addition, consider using the phone's video recording function to scan and record the entire area slowly, capturing other car's parked nearby and other people in the area. Taking the photos and video should take only a few minutes of time and should be done before moving the car.
Call the police
Next, call the police and have an officer meet with you at the scene to document the damage and file an official report. Ask that the officer also take photos of the damage, in case you need corroboration for your photos at a later time.
Contact your insurance company
The third action you should take is to contact your insurance company to get the claims process started so that you will be able to get your car repaired as quickly as possible. If the damage to your car appears to be serious and your car cannot be safely driven, your insurance company will assist you with arranging a tow service and obtaining a rental car, if your policy covers these services.
Determine if there are witnesses or security cameras
Once the police and your insurance company have been notified, look around for potential witnesses or security cameras that may have captured the hit and run accident taking place. If the accident occurred in a parking lot or facility with a parking attendant, be sure to obtain contact information for their employer so that you can work on getting a copy of the video footage, if it exists. In addition, be sure to leave your contact information with the attendant and ask to be contacted if anyone reports later that they saw or heard the accident occur.
Contact an attorney
An attorney with a strong background in dealing with traffic cases and auto accidents can offer you additional assistance in tracking down the offending driver and making them take legal and financial responsibility for the accident and the damage to your car. Contact a law firm like Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. to learn more.