You can do the same things you’d do to get compensation for damages after any traffic accident caused by a negligent driver, plus a little more. The injuries, if any, and the property damage in a parked car crash are generally less serious than those resulting from a collision between moving vehicles. The process of proving liability and recovering reasonable damages, however, can be just as challenging as it is in any other South Carolina car accident claim.
What to Do After a Parked Car Accident
To protect your claim and maximize your chances for fair compensation, you should take the following steps after a parked car wreck:
Pictures of the damage to your car and to the other vehicle are vital to your case, as are images of skid marks and other visual evidence. Try to get a photo of the other car’s license plate if possible.
The police should come and make a report if the wreck occurred on a public street or in your driveway. If the wreck occurred in a parking lot, you might have to go to the police station to report it. The police report will contain information that’s vital to your insurance claim for property damage and injuries/time off work, if any.
Check for video cameras.
If your accident occurred in a parking lot, there is probably video footage of the wreck. Even if your vehicle was hit on the street, there could be private security cameras nearby. A car accident lawyer will know how to obtain video footage.
If you weren’t present but can find someone who saw the wreck, get contact information from that witness and pass it on to your attorney.
Get contact information from the driver who hit your car.
The motorist who hit you is required by law to stay at the scene and exchange information with you or leave info for you if you’re not present. This information tells you who hit your car and which insurance company is responsible for your damages. A driver who causes an accident and leaves the scene is guilty of a hit-and-run, which usually occurs because the driver fears police contact for some reason.
Seek medical attention.
If you were in the car when it was hit, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the crash for treatment and documentation of your injuries. You might have a serious injury that’s asymptomatic for a few days after the wreck.
Notify your insurance company.
Even though the accident was not your fault, you should make your insurer aware of what’s happened.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
If you weren’t injured, your property damage is minor, the other driver admits fault, and the insurance company accepts your claim, you might not need an attorney to settle your case. Under any of the following circumstances, however, you could need the services of an experienced lawyer to help you get fair compensation:
- You were injured.
- The at-fault driver left the scene.
- The at-fault driver is uninsured.
- You bear responsibility for the accident.
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company disputes or denies your claim.
- Your car was parked illegally or improperly (taking up two spaces in a lot, for example), in which case you could be found partially responsible for the accident.
In South Carolina, you may still collect compensation reduced according to your percentage of fault as long as you are less than 51% responsible for the accident. This is another reason to have an attorney on your side to prove you were not more than half responsible. If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run parked car crash or the at-fault driver has no insurance, your attorney can also help you to seek compensation from:
- Your own insurance company
- Your health insurance
- A civil lawsuit if the driver is found