Pit Stop: What to Do After a Parking Lot Hit and Run
Having your car damaged in a parking lot hit-and-run can be infuriating as well as financially stressful. These incidents happen frequently, with over 500,000 reported yearly in the US. If you return to your car to find it smashed up with no note left behind, it’s important to remain calm and take the proper steps. Though the driver may seem to get off free, there are actions you can take to file an insurance claim, report the incident, and potentially even identify the at-fault motorist. This guide will outline the best practices following a parking lot hit-and-run.
1. Document the Scene
The first thing you need to do is look for any potential witnesses. They may be able to help you with your claim. Once you’ve determined whether anyone saw the accident, you next need to carefully assess and photograph all damage to your vehicle before you move it. Take wide shots of the entire car as well as close-ups of dents, scratches, and broken parts. Document where you parked and the area around your space. Note things like security cameras mounted on nearby buildings that may have captured footage.
2. File a Police Report
You’ll need to file an official report to submit to your insurance provider. Police may also be able to access and review security camera footage. Have your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration on hand. Be prepared to give your best guess of when the incident occurred. Provide complete details of damage to your vehicle.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
Contact your provider right away to begin your claim. Keep the claim number handy for documentation. Your deductible amount will likely come out of pocket unless the at-fault driver is found. Rental reimbursement coverage on your policy may help pay for a rental car while yours is repaired. Discuss your policy specifics with your insurer.
4. Get a Damage Appraisal
Most insurance companies will set up an auto body shop inspection of your vehicle. If you prefer, you can get estimates from shops yourself in advance. Obtain 2-3 written estimates detailing parts and labor costs for all damage. Save copies for your records. Ask if shops can provide any documentation or evidence to assist with finding the at-fault driver.
5. Repair Your Vehicle
You’ll need to choose an auto body repair shop to fix your car and get you back on the road. Compare estimates to pick the best value but also verify qualifications. Ask about warranties on work performed. Schedule a drop-off and get any assurances from the shop in writing. Save all repair documentation for claim reimbursement.
6. Dispute Your Deductible
If the at-fault driver is found later, your insurance company will likely try to recover costs from their insurer. Provide any additional evidence you uncover from witnesses or security footage. Contact the police to check if the incident report yields any new information. If the at-fault driver pays your deductible amount, those funds should be reimbursed to you per your individual state’s laws.
Dealing with a parking lot hit-and-run can quickly become overwhelming. Stay focused, follow protocol, and keep track of evidence that could lead to identifying the at-fault driver. With persistence and the right paper trail, you may be able to recoup repair costs.
If you want to increase your chances of getting justice, contact our team of experienced attorneys at Pardy & Rodriguez. We have several offices for you to choose from, including:
- Orlando – 315 Park Lake Cir., Orlando, FL 32803
- Tampa – 11700 N. 58th St., Ste. A, Temple Terrace, FL 33617
- Kissimmee – 1052 E. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34744
- Poinciana – 4663 Old Pleasant Hill Road, Poinciana, FL 34759
- Davenport – 40230 US Highway 27, Suite 140, Davenport, FL 33837
- Bradenton – 409 6th Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208
However, if you prefer, you can call us now for a free consultation on (888) 522-0222.