Parking lots are dangerous places that can be the settings of fender benders or more serious car accidents, such as vehicle-pedestrian collisions. If you get involved in a parking lot accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your property damage and medical bills that you suffered. Take the following steps to begin the insurance claims process and seek the compensation that you deserve in Connecticut.
The first step to take after a parking lot accident is to check yourself and others involved in the wreck for injuries. If someone has been injured, it is your duty as a motor vehicle driver to render aid. This may mean calling for paramedics or transporting an injured victim to the nearest hospital. You should also seek immediate medical care for any of your own injuries. Keep in mind that you may be injured even if you feel fine. Your adrenaline from the crash may be masking pain.
In Connecticut, the law requires drivers to report any car accident that results in injuries, deaths or at least $1,000 in property damage. You may also wish to report a minor collision to obtain a police report. Car insurance companies often rely on police reports to understand what happened and determine fault for a collision. To report your parking lot accident, dial 911 on your cell phone to alert law enforcement right away while you are still at the scene of the crash.
Your first instinct after a parking lot accident may be to get out of the vehicle and apologize for the crash. Telling the other driver that you are sorry, however, could be construed as an admittance of guilt. Do not apologize or admit fault for the accident. In Connecticut, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you will not be eligible for compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, even if he or she contributed to the crash. Rather than admitting fault, wait for an insurance investigation to determine liability.
Part of your responsibility as a driver after a car accident is to exchange information with the owner of the other vehicle. If the other driver is present, exchange your names, phone numbers, addresses, vehicle information and insurance information. If you strike an unattended vehicle in a parking lot in Connecticut, you have a duty to leave a note with your name, phone number and a brief explanation of the crash in a conspicuous place on the vehicle if you cannot locate the owner.
Before you leave the scene of the crash, take photographs and record video footage with your cell phone. Taking pictures at the scene can help investigators reconstruct the car accident later to determine fault. You may also wish to contact the owner of the parking lot to find out if there is any security camera or surveillance footage of the accident. Many parking lots have surveillance cameras.
Once you have received medical care and understand the full extent of your injuries, file an insurance claim. Start by contacting the other driver’s car insurance company. Connecticut is an at-fault car insurance state, meaning the driver or person who causes a parking lot accident will be responsible for paying for any property damage and medical bills. It will be up to you or your car accident attorney to prove that the other driver is at fault to receive insurance benefits.
If a parking lot accident is only minor, with no injuries and little to no property damage, you can most likely handle the insurance process on your own. If you or a loved one suffered a severe injury, however, you may need to contact an attorney to help negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster. An insurance company may try to take advantage of you, such as by blaming you for the parking lot accident or undervaluing your losses. An experienced New Haven car accident attorney can help you fight for the case results that you need to move forward.