There are lots of ways to be involved in a car accident in Philadelphia. One of the least severe types of a crash is when your car is parked and there is no one inside it when the collision happens. While this typically means you do not suffer any physical injuries, it can still mean there was plenty of property damage. This can be so bad that it leaves your vehicle not driveable, putting you in a tricky spot if you need to get somewhere, like your workplace. Worse, because your car was parked at the time of the accident, crashes like these are hardly ever your fault, making you the victim of someone else's negligence.
You deserve to be compensated for your losses in these crashes. After all, you did nothing wrong, so there is no reason why you should have to bear the costs of what you have lost. That is where the Philadelphia attorney at Gilman & Bedigian can help.
The High Cost of Property Damage Only Crashes
Car accidents involving your parked car fall into the realm of property damage only accidents. These are crashes that did not hurt anyone, at all, and only resulted in damaged vehicles or other pieces of property.
Property damage only cases are fortunate because no one was hurt. However, that does not make them trivial or meaningless: You still have to repair the things that you own and that were damaged in the accident. In some cases, this can amount to thousands of dollars in repair costs or can even be so severe that you cannot repair the damage, and have to simply replace what you lost, instead.
Two Situations When Someone Hits Your Parked Car
There are two possible situations that can develop when someone hits your parked car:
- They can stop and leave their information so you can contact them, or
- The person who crashed into your vehicle can do a hit-and-run.
Whether the person who collided with your car leaves their contact information drastically impacts how your case proceeds.
What to Do When the Other Driver Flees the Scene of the Crash
Running into something with your vehicle and then fleeing the scene of the crash, in Pennsylvania, is a crime, even when the crash only caused property damage. 75 Pa.C.S. § 3743 makes it a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a $2,500 fine and up to a year of jail time, to leave the scene of a property damage only accident without providing contact information.
However, many drivers in Philadelphia are willing to take the risk, if it means avoiding paying for the costs of the damage that they have caused to your parked car.
When this happens, you will be left with no idea of who caused the damage and will have no other alternative but to recover compensation from your own insurance company. You can help your own cause by:
- Taking photos of the damage, to show how bad they are,
- Calling the police and reporting a property damage only accident, so they can create a police report of the incident,
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
Of course, it is better to use the other driver's insurance for the costs of the crash, so finding the identity of the driver who hit your parked car is important. If the crash happened in a city like Philadelphia, there is a good chance that a nearby business has a security camera that caught either the crash or a passing car with damage that matches what one would expect from the vehicle that hit yours. You can also talk to neighbors who might have heard or seen the accident and can provide important information about the car that hit your parked vehicle.
What to Do When the Other Driver Stays or Provides Their Information
If the other driver stays after hitting your parked car, or leaves their contact information where you can find it, it will be much easier to get the compensation you need and deserve to repair your vehicle.
Here is what to do:
- If the other driver is still at the scene of the crash, or if they have only left their contact information, ask them to provide their name, address, phone number, and the name of their insurance company,
- Call the police and tell them there was a property damage only accident so there will be a police report to detail the crash, and
- Report the crash to your insurance company.
Under no circumstances should you discuss the details of the crash or apportion blame with the other driver. That is a job for police and, especially, for the insurance companies that get involved. Remember that anything you say can be used against you.
Getting the Other Driver's Insurance to Cover the Crash
In nearly every car accident that involves a parked car, the crash was the fault of the person driving the moving vehicle. The only exception can be when the parked car was in an illegal spot. Because you did nothing wrong, there is no reason why it should be you or your insurance company to cover the costs of the crash.
Using the other driver's car insurance policy to cover the costs of repairing your vehicle is also important because, if your insurance covers those costs, you could see ramifications, later on:
- Your premiums might go up,
- If the costs of repair are high, you could reach your policy's maximum payout, and
- You could still have to pay the deductible on your insurance policy.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers
The process of getting you the compensation that you need and deserve after your parked car gets hit and damaged can be difficult because much of it happens behind the scenes, in the offices of whatever insurance company is involved. This makes it even more important to have a Philadelphia car accident attorney at your side to help you recover what you need and deserve to get your car back on the road. Contact us online.