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How do I get evidence after a hit-and-run on my parked car?

If you return to your parked car to find that someone has hit it and taken off, you will need to prove that the damages didn’t exist before. The insurance company could dispute your claim that the damages were caused by the hit and run driver.

To prove that the damages weren’t pre-existing, you should provide photos of your vehicle before the accident. You may also need to obtain a copy of the vehicle’s accident history from a reputable report company, such as CarFax.

This will allow you to prove that if your vehicle was in any previous accidents that any prior damage was repaired.

Photos, witness statements, and repair estimates can help you prove that the damages were caused by the hit and run driver hitting your vehicle while it was parked. Your vehicle repair records from your mechanic will also help you show that the damages you are claiming were caused by the hit and run driver.

Remember that all evidence and documentation must be kept so you can use it to support your claim. Make copies of any evidence, so you have copies to send with the demand letter when you get your claim underway, you have copies for your own records, and then you have copies if the claim advances to court and you need to provide documents to be filed with the lawsuit.

We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:

Take Pictures

The first recommended step would be to take pictures of the scene. Take close pictures of your car and the damage, noting the location of the damage as well as the color of paint or anything that is noticeable on the car and could have been left by the person who hit you.

Take a picture of where you were in relation to the parking lot so that perhaps footage obtained later could assist you in determining where your car was and which cars were located closely to it.

Pictures are always good, as well, to submit to insurance for property damages. It can be evidence of what the damage looked like at the time it was discovered so that the insurance company cannot accuse of you causing those damages at a later date.

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Any Witnesses?

It may not be possible because you may not know who was present at the time the accident occurred, but if you can get names of any witnesses at all, that is always helpful. Stick around for a bit to see if other drivers come back to their car and see if they saw anything when they got there.

Of course, they would have had to see the car hitting your car and remember any identifying information, which can be troublesome.

However, if, by some stroke of luck, you are able to find someone who saw something, write his or her information down.

Video Evidence

Many times, stores will install parking lot cameras to protect property and the property of their patrons. You may be able to get footage of the accident as it occurs, and if the picture is clear enough, you can zoom in and hopefully find the license plate number of the offender.

You may need to formally request this evidence, but it would not hurt to ask first shortly after the accident.

How Can the Police Help?

Even minor damages to your car can cost thousands of dollars which is why involving the police is a good idea. The police are aware of who to talk to and where to look to produce the best leads and ultimately find the person responsible for the damage to your car.

If your car was damaged while you were parked, the police will be able to help you gather witness information and can help locate video evidence of the accident. They will also provide more manpower and authority to your investigation if you are trying to find evidence on your own.

If your car was damaged while you were on the road, it is likely that the damages are even worse and could involve physical injury. The police will be able to help you gather the all of the evidence that is available.

There are special accident investigators that will be able to look at the scene of the accident and tell what happened. In addition they will also look at the debris left at the scene of the accident and may be able to determine the model of the car that hit you. Thus narrowing down the list of potential suspects. After working with the police, your lawyer will be able to package the evidence and present your case.

Who Pays For Your Damages If The Driver Isn’t Found

There is the chance that the hit and run driver will not be found. You may be wondering how your damages will be covered if the hit and run driver isn’t tracked down. If this is the case, you will need to file a claim under your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.

Your insurance might try to allege that there wasn’t another vehicle since the driver wasn’t tracked down, but with the help of a personal injury lawyer and supporting evidence, you can show them that it wasn’t a single car accident and that there was another vehicle that caused the crash that led to your damages.

You should get photos of the accident scene and of the damages. You should try to get photos from all angles. This can help show that your vehicle was hit by another car, and that they took off from the scene. It will also show the severity of the damages that your vehicle suffered.

Check around to see if there are any witnesses. If you find witnesses, ask them to provide written statements. Get the names of any witnesses along with their contact details. The more supporting evidence that you can provide, the stronger your case.

Get a written estimate from a qualified auto repair shop. They will provide a detailed and itemized estimate. You should also keep copies of any tow bills and the receipts and/or estimates for using a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

Take your car to a qualified auto repair facility. The damages estimates will need to come from a qualified, trustworthy repair shop that is reputable. You want to provide evidence that is convincing and trustworthy.

Be sure to document everything. That means you should jot down notes while everything is fresh in your mind. Be sure to talk to all witnesses. Be sure to get plenty photographs of the accident scene, and be sure to get photos from all the different angles so it can show the severity of the damages and help determine the direction of travel for the vehicle that left the scene.

What Can You Claim As Damages In Your Personal Injury Claim?

When you file a personal injury claim with the insurance company, you will want to make sure you include all the damages in your claim. Since your vehicle was hit while it was parked, you will have property damages. These damages include the cost of repairing the damages, the cost of a rental car, and the cost of towing your vehicle.

To get a claim underway, you will need to send a demand letter to the insurance company – or the other driver if they are tracked down – explaining what happened, how it happened, and that you are pursuing a claim for damages.

The demand letter should be accompanied by supporting evidence and documentation so it will convince the insurance company that you have the necessary evidence to show that the damages were caused by the hit and run and you suffered damages because of the accident.

When you send the demand letter, you need to clearly specify the damages and detail all the damages that you suffered, as an example, here are the damages that you may have:

  • Repairs for vehicle damage - $1,950
  • Rental car for one week - $385
  • Towing bill - $75

That brings your total losses to $2,410. With the supporting documentation, the insurance company will respond to your request. It is much less expensive to resolve the matter out of court than proceed to court because you – the accident victim – files a lawsuit against them.

In that case, they will pay out more in legal fees and invest more time in the matter. These legal fees will most likely add up to more than the damages that you suffered because of the hit and run.

Be prepared to negotiate or let your attorney negotiate with the insurance company to get your damages covered. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for damages caused by a hit and run driver.

If your car has been damaged because it was hit while parked and the driver left the scene, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who handles auto accident claims in your area. An attorney has strong negotiation skills and can help gather supporting evidence and documentation to make your claim successful.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident on your own parked car, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case. A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company.

To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.

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