Living in today’s modern society comes with always having a million things running through your mind — will you have time to finish all of your tasks at work? Will new deadlines make your head spin? What are you going to do about your son’s PTA meeting that conflicts with a big presentation? When all of a sudden, you accidentally hit a parked car. Now what?
If the owner of the car isn’t around, you may be wondering whether you have to leave a note, whether someone saw you, whether leaving would be considered a hit and run. Knowing your responsibilities — and what is required by law — is crucial to avoid facing even more unpleasant scenarios.
What to Do When you Hit a Parked Car
Florida law requires any driver involved in a crash that results in damage to another vehicle to immediately stop their car at the scene of the crash and provide the following information:
- Their full name
- Vehicle registration number (VIN)
If the driver of the parked car is available and they request to see your driver’s license, you have a legal duty to provide it. If the driver is nowhere to be found, you are required to report the accident to the nearest police department or police officer. When stopping your vehicle to provide information, do so without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
When you get out of the car, inspect the damage and take pictures of your car and the other vehicle, as well as the street where it occurred. You will need this later on to prove any claims you may have — such as if the other car was parked illegally or your vision was obstructed by bushes, lack of adequate lighting, or weather conditions. It can also protect you if later on the other vehicle suffers additional damage unrelated to the accident and tries to pin it on you.
When you report the accident to the police, stick to the facts — your identifying information and location of the accident. Do not go into details about how you might have been distracted, or how it was all your fault. Florida is a comparative negligence jurisdiction. This means that if the other party was partially responsible for the damages — such as parking illegally — their level of responsibility will be deducted from what they can recover from you.
What’s the penalty for a parked car hit and run?
If you hit a parked car — and the accident caused property damage — and you leave the scene without following the steps above, you’d be committing a misdemeanor in the second degree. This means doing so is a crime. It will go on your record and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
If the accident resulted in someone getting injured and you drove away, you would be committing a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
If You Hit a Parked Car, Let Us Help You
Every car accident is different. There are many factors that determine your level of liability, and perhaps that liability could be diminished. It all depends on the circumstances.
At Carey, Leisure & Neal, we have more than three decades of experience successfully representing clients involved in car accidents. All of our attorneys are accessible and Board Certified in civil trial law.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.