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Home | What to Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left in California

What to Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left in California

by | Jul 16, 2022 | Car Accidents

Every day, many types of motor vehicle accidents occur throughout California. The state uses a fault-based system to resolve motor vehicle accident claims, meaning the driver responsible for causing an accident assumes liability for all resulting damages. While most drivers who cause accidents will remain at the crash scene and accept responsibility for their actions, others do not. Some drivers cause accidents and then flee the scenes of the collisions they caused, leaving victims wondering how they can recover their losses.

Identifying the driver responsible for your recent hit-and-run accident in California could be easier than you might think if you have the right attorney handling your case. The sooner you connect with a lawyer you can trust, the sooner they can determine what evidence you will need to establish liability, how to locate the at-fault driver, and the full scope of damages you can seek from the party responsible for your accident.

What Is a Hit-and-Run?

A hit-and-run is any incident in which a driver hits another vehicle and flees the scene. A hit-and-run can occur involving a parked car, and it’s possible for a driver who hits a parked vehicle to unintentionally commit a hit-and-run. California law requires drivers to report accidents to the police when they result in significant property damage, injury, or death. If you hit a parked car and cannot determine the approximate value of the damage to the other vehicle, it’s safe to assume you should report the accident.

Your duty to report an accident applies even if the other vehicle’s owner was not present for the crash. If you hit a parked car, move your vehicle out of traffic and park nearby. You should take photos of the accident scene while you wait for the other vehicle’s owner. If you wait as long as you can and they have not appeared, you can leave a note for them with your contact information and insurance details.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in California

If you return to your parked vehicle to discover that someone hit it and fled the scene, you should know the best things to do in this situation to improve your chances of finding the at-fault driver. See if anyone nearby saw who hit your vehicle. They may provide vehicle descriptions that match traffic camera footage from nearby intersections. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and obtain the contact details of any witnesses you speak with at the crash scene. Their testimony could be crucial to finding the at-fault driver and holding them accountable.

File a police report for the hit-and-run and speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney could potentially secure evidence you would have overlooked on your own, and they may be able to determine the best ways of identifying and locating the driver who hit your parked vehicle. Ultimately, the sooner you secure legal representation, the more likely you will ensure accountability for the driver who caused your accident.

Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys routinely assists clients throughout Southern California with auto accident claims, including those in which liability isn’t immediately clear. So, whether you need to find the driver who hit your parked vehicle or experienced any other type of hit-and-run accident in California, we can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to recover from your damages as fully as state law allows.

FAQs About Hitting an Illegally Parked Car in California

What Happens If You Hit a Parked Car and Leave in California?

If you are driving and hit a parked car in California, you have a legal duty to stop and wait for the parked vehicle’s driver to return and take responsibility for the accident. If you wait for several minutes and they have still not returned, you may leave a note for them that includes your contact details and insurance information, but you still may need to call 911 to formally report the accident if it results in significant property damage. Failure to report the collision with the parked car could amount to a hit-and-run charge.

Can I Sue Someone for Hitting My Parked Car in California?

Once you locate the driver who caused the recent collision with your parked car, you have the right to hold them accountable for your damages. Their auto insurance policy may offer some initial compensation for your vehicle repair costs and medical expenses. However, if your damages exceed the scope of compensation available from the at-fault driver’s insurance, you will have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against them for your outstanding damages.

Can a Driver Go to Jail for Hitting a Parked Car?

A driver who causes an accident and does not remain at the scene to take responsibility for the accident is guilty of hit-and-run under California law. Failure to leave a note when they cannot locate the owner of a parked vehicle they hit could also amount to a hit-and-run. The penalties for hit-and-run in California vary from case to case, and the at-fault driver can face fines, jail time, restitution to the victim, and various other penalties depending on the severity of their actions.

Should I Hire an Attorney After Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left?

Hiring an experienced California car accident attorney is one of the best legal options available to you after a driver has hit your parked vehicle and fled the scene. A good attorney may be able to locate eyewitnesses who saw the crash, obtain traffic camera recordings that show the at-fault driver fleeing the scene, or obtain other evidence that can support your case. Working with legal counsel is the best way to ensure accountability for your damages and maximize the recovery you obtain.

The team at Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys has years of experience helping clients throughout Southern California with their personal injury claims, including those pertaining to vehicle accidents caused by hit-and-run drivers. If you are unsure how to locate and identify the driver who hit your parked car, contact us today and find out how our firm can assist you with your recovery efforts.

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