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What to Do in a Parking Lot Accident

What to Do in a Parking Lot Accident

Traffic in the parking lots of malls and grocery stores picks up significantly during the holidays increasing the likelihood that you could find yourself involved in a fender bender. Whether you’re the offending driver, victim, or witness of a parking lot accident, here are some steps you can take to be proactive and responsible:

Offending Driver

1. Accept responsibility. Don’t just drive off—if another driver or a surveillance camera caught you in the act, you could be charged with a hit-and-run.
2. Try to find the other car’s owner. Go inside the store and speak to someone at the customer service desk. Describe the car to the employee, and have him or her announce it over the store’s loudspeaker.
3. Leave a note. If you’re unable to find the other driver, jot down basic information—your name, phone number and a brief explanation of the accident—and place it in a secure spot on the car. Remember to write down the license plate number and take a photo of the damage if you have a camera with you.
4. Call the police. For extensive damage, you may want to involve the police. They’ll document the accident and can help you find the other car’s owner.

Victim

1. Contact your insurance broker. Let him or her know what happened as soon as possible. Your agent will help you determine the next steps.
2. Take pictures. Take pictures of the damage with your phone or a camera, if you have one on hand.
3. Document, document, document. If the other driver is still around, jot down his or her name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance company. Gather as much information as possible.
4. Get back up. Ask others in the parking lot if they witnessed anything. Also head back to the store and find out if they have security camera footage you can check.

Witness

1. Offer to help. If the offending driver is gone, help the other driver document the damage.
2. Give the driver your contact information. In case his or her insurance broker or the police need to contact you for further comment.


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