Parking lots are one of the most common places where Florida drivers get into an auto accident. This can happen while trying to parallel park and hitting or bumping another vehicle. Even if the damage is minor, there are steps that every driver should take if they’re in a car accident in Florida.
Report the accident to the proper authorities
If the damage from hitting another vehicle in a parking lot adds up to or exceeds $500, then the driver should immediately report the accident to Florida police. Of course, unless you’re a professional inspector or mechanic, you may night know how much the damage will add up to. For this reason, you should report the accident whenever you see visible damage.
If you inspect both cars and find no visible damage, you should still remain on the scene and report the collision to avoid any possible legal ramifications down the road.
Look for the owner
It’s always best to search for and locate the other individual—if they’re not immediately within sight—in order to exchange contact and insurance information. If the owner can’t be located, you should take the following steps:
- Leave a note. If the owner can’t be located, you should leave a note with your name, number, address, name of insurance company and description of what happened. Again, it’s always best to look for the owner first before you do this.
- Take photos. Most cell phones now have built-in cameras drivers can use to take pictures of the scene. Take photos of both cars from multiple angles and with different lighting, as well as of the surrounding area. Remember to include the make, model and license plate of the other vehicle.
- Find witnesses. If there are any bystanders who may have seen the parking lot accident occur, talk to them and gather their contact information, as well as a description of what they saw happen. This will be useful for your insurance company and if you decide to contact a Florida car accident lawyer.
- Contact the insurance company. Immediately let your insurance know you were involved in a major or minor collision. Even if the other driver never contacts them, failure to notify your insurance company could result in a denied claim down the road.
Failure to take proper action
In the state of Florida, if you hit a parked vehicle and flee the scene, you could be charged with a hit-and-run, which comes with severe penalties, including:
- A $500 fine
- Second-degree misdemeanor charges
- A maximum of 60 days in jail
- Possible revocation of your driver’s license
What if you do everything right and are still charged?
Sometimes drivers do everything right and are still charged with a hit-and-run, so what do you do?
At this point, you should contact an experienced Florida car accident lawyer.
The legal team at Lorenzo & Lorenzo puts our clients first. We will meet with you inside or outside our offices to discuss your concerns and create a roadmap of what you can expect if you decide to file a claim or if you need advice following a parking lot accident.