For starters, take a deep breath. While you may experience that sinking feeling in your gut, remind yourself that accidents happen and try not to panic. Maybe you were trying to wiggle your way out of a tight spot or backed up too fast when a car was hiding in your blind spot. It happens all the time, however, it’s important to follow the proper procedures when dealing with this type of collision.
6 Proper Procedures When Hitting A Parked Car in Canada
1. Take Responsibility
You’re not the only driver out there who has hit a parked car. While it’s important to be careful, you can’t change the past, but you can take the necessary steps to remedy the future. First things first, you should take responsibility for what has happened.
No matter if it was a minor bump or a complete sideswipe, both require action. Failure to report any type of collision is a criminal offence and could result in major consequences. Hitting a parked vehicle and leaving the scene can fall under the Criminal Code of Canada, resulting in fines, demerit points, license suspension, imprisonment, and a severe increase in insurance rates. Even if there is very little to no visible damage, you must report the accident.
If the car’s owner is not on the scene, do your best to locate them so that you can discuss what has happened. If the owner cannot be found, you are obligated to leave a written notice of the accident. This should be placed in a visible location – under the windshield wiper is a good option – and should include the following personal details:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate
You can also claim ownership by calling the police. This is typically only necessary if the accident results in personal injury or the damage surpasses $2,000 CAD. If no one was hurt and the damage is minor, a note is sufficient.
2. Protect Yourself
It’s important to collect as much on-scene proof and documentation as you can. This can prevent potential discrepancies and protect you from false claims.
3. Take Photos and Videos
Collect as many photos and videos of the incident as you can. Photos of the auto body are vital to assessing the damage done by the collision. Include the state of the other car, any areas of damage, their license plate, and as many angles of the incident as possible. It’s important to show the positioning of the vehicles to ensure that any damage the other car had before the accident, is not wrongly placed on you. You should also take photos and video of your own car, in case you need to claim repairs from your insurance provider as well.
Don’t forget to take a photo of the note you left on the car! This visual evidence shows that you are claiming responsibility for the accident and abiding by the law.
4. Talk to Witnesses
If there are any eyewitnesses on the scene, you can take a record of what they saw and ask for their contact information. If there are police coming to the scene – and you don’t feel comfortable approaching strangers – they’ll collect eye-witness accounts on your behalf.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
Even if you were not able to locate the vehicle’s owner, you should contact your insurance provider. Notifying your insurance protects both parties and should be done sooner rather than later. You may be tempted to handle any costs and damages privately, however, this opens the opportunity for the other driver to pull a fast one on you. While this may increase the cost of your insurance, involving your provider is a great form of backup to deter the other driver from committing fraud.
6. Repairing the Damage
Not only will your insurance company protect you from becoming a victim of insurance fraud, but they’ll also help you pay for the damages. Hitting a parked car in Canada is no different from any other collision; if you’re at fault, you’ll need to cover the cost of repairs for both the parked vehicle and your own. When scouting auto body repair shops in Vancouver, it’s important to take your vehicle to a trusted and accredited partner of ICBC, to ensure the best rates and repairs. Super Euro Auto Ltd. has years of experience dealing with insurance providers and will help you through this process every step of the way. They specialize in auto body collision repair and can ensure that every vehicle involved is returned to its pre-collision condition.