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

Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left in California – What to Do?
Apr 08, 2023

Disclaimer: While this blog post offers guidance on actions to take if someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene in California, our law firm specializes in representing individuals who have sustained injuries in car accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and seek legal assistance, we are here to help. Please note, if your inquiry is related to a hit and run incident involving a parked car with no injuries, we encourage you to report the incident to local law enforcement and consult your insurance provider for assistance with property damage claims.

Thousands of accidents happen in California each year, and whenever any auto accident happens, the drivers involved are legally required to stop, report the accident to the police, and exchange contact and insurance information so the damages can be resolved. Unfortunately, some drivers do not follow these rules, and hit and run accidents are relatively common throughout California.

A hit and run accident entails a driver hitting another vehicle and then fleeing the scene of the crash. When this occurs while the victim is operating their vehicle, there is a chance they could take down some of the at-fault driver’s details, such as a physical description of the driver and the make and model of their vehicle. However, if a driver returns to their parked vehicle to discover another driver has damaged the vehicle while they were away, it’s easy for them to feel lost in terms of how they can prove fault for this type of accident.

What to Do After Someone Hits Your Parked Car in California?

As soon as you discover that your parked vehicle was damaged while you were away, you should take photos of the damage and see if anyone nearby witnessed the hit and run. Most of these accidents happen in parking lots and other places that often have security cameras. If so, you may be able to obtain footage that shows the at-fault driver hitting your vehicle.

If you find your parked vehicle hit by a driver who has fled the scene without leaving a note with their contact information, you should consult a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Preserve as much evidence as you can from the scene, including taking photos of the damage to your vehicle. Your attorney can determine the optimal ways of identifying the driver who hit your car.

Filing a Claim

Once the at-fault driver is located, you can proceed with seeking compensation for the damage they caused. Your attorney can then assist you with every aspect of your recovery efforts. You will be able to claim compensation for your vehicle repairs through a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, but if they do not have enough coverage to fully compensate your losses, or if they do not have insurance at all, you can file a personal injury claim against them.

Hit and run is a criminal offense in California, and once the driver is found, they face criminal prosecution along with their liability for your damages. It’s possible for the outcome of their criminal case to influence your recovery efforts. For example, the judge who sentences them upon conviction could award restitution to the victim as an element of their sentence. You may also be able to claim compensation for the emotional distress they caused, lost income from missed time at work resulting from their damaging your vehicle, and more. To have the greatest chance of maximizing the compensation you obtain, it’s vital to work with an experienced car accident attorney.

FAQs About California Hit and Run Law

Can You Sue If Someone Hits Your Parked Car in California?

Your first option for recovering from any accident, including one in which a driver has hit your parked vehicle, is to file a claim against their auto insurance policy. Once you have identified the at-fault driver, you can proceed with filing a claim against their insurance. If their coverage cannot fully compensate your damages, you will need to file a personal injury claim to recover the rest.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer If Someone Hits My Parked Car in California?

Technically, no, there is no legal requirement to hire counsel if you need to pursue compensation for any accident in California. However, you will have a much better chance of success with your recovery efforts when you have legal counsel advising you. Your attorney can make filing your insurance claim much easier, and if you need to file a personal injury claim as well, you can be properly prepared to do so efficiently.

What Are the Penalties for Hit and Run in California?

A California driver can be charged with hit and run if they hit another vehicle and leave, and this applies to parked cars as well. A hit and run can qualify as a misdemeanor or felony in California. When a hit and run only results in property damage to a parked car, misdemeanor prosecution is more likely. The penalties for a misdemeanor hit and run can include fines up to $1,000 and up to six months in county jail.

Will My Car Insurance Premium Increase If Someone Hits My Parked Car?

Insurance carriers price their premium rates according to a policyholder’s perceived level of risk. This means that the riskier a driver appears to be, the more expensive their insurance coverage is. Driver premiums can increase when drivers cause accidents, but if another driver hits your vehicle while it is parked, this should not increase your premium rates. However, if you were parked illegally, this could change things. Review the terms of your insurance policy so you know your rights and responsibilities regarding how your premium rate could increase.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Hit and Run Accident?

If someone hit your parked car, and left the scene without taking responsibility in any way, it is crucial to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can coordinate with the police to help you identify the at-fault driver, and once you hold them accountable, you can secure compensation for your vehicle repair costs. A good attorney can carefully review the details of the incident and help you maximize the compensation you obtain.

Contact the Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC

The Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC, can help you recover from any motor vehicle accident, including one involving damage to your parked vehicle. If a hit and run driver is responsible for your losses, we can assist you in holding them accountable. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with our team to learn more about the professional legal services we provide.