Many people have returned to their cars after a shopping trip to find a dent in their door (and in better circumstances, a note on the window). While it may seem difficult to believe, drivers strike parked cars on a daily basis—and in some cases, the passengers are still inside when the collision occurs.
What to Do If You Were Struck While Your Car Was Parked
One of the biggest disputes in these kinds of accidents is proving that the car that was struck was parked legally. Even if someone rear-ended you while you were in a parking lot or sideswiped your door as you waited for a patient outside a hospital, you may be found partly at fault if you were parked in a no-loading zone or fire lane.
In order to protect your injury claim and your health, you should take the following steps immediately if someone struck your car while you were parked:
- Take pictures. One of the easiest ways to prove you were not at fault is to take pictures of the damage and positioning of both cars from several angles. If your phone does not have a camera, make a note of any nearby surveillance cameras that may have a recording of the incident.
- Call 911. Don’t make the mistake of letting the other driver leave because you “don’t feel injured.” If there is any noticeable damage to your car, you should call the police. Police officers know what questions to ask after a crash, can make sure you are all right, and make an official report of the incident that you can refer to later.
- Collect contact information. You should exchange contact information with the other driver, even if he or she is denying fault for the crash. Be sure to write down the name, phone number, address, and insurance company of the driver, as well as collecting the names and numbers of any witnesses at the scene.
- Contact the other driver’s insurance company. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence system, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is required to pay for the damage as long as you are less than 50% liable for the crash. If the other driver’s insurer denies the claim or does not resolve the issue, you may need an attorney to help you get compensation.
For more information on your rights after an accident, fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.