Imagine you are at your favorite super store. You’re in a hurry to get home because you just realized you spent an hour in the store instead of the 15 minutes it should’ve taken for that shopping trip. You get in your car, throw it in reverse, start backing out, and then BAM! Where did that other car come from? What do I do now?
Accidents happen to the best of us. Here are a few tips to help you know just what to do if something like this was to ever happen to you.
- Stay-It’s the law
Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in every state and can be considered a hit and run. Conviction can net you a misdemeanor charge, hefty fine, and in some states, jail time or community service and suspension of your license and/or registration. We don’t want that to happen!
If the law isn’t enough to keep you there, consider this: Odds are good someone saw you hit that car. It might be an actual person or one of the estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the U.S, according to an industry study.
- If no one arrives, leave a note
If you are at a store go inside and see if you can locate the owner. 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.
If you’ve tried to locate the vehicles owner, and have waited at least 15 minutes or so, but still no owner in site, go ahead and grab a pen and paper and leave a note. Make sure your note includes the following information:
- Contact number
- Explanation of accident
Don’t say too much, as anything that you write in the note could be used against you (Example: I wasn’t paying attention). Then make sure you tuck it securely under the windshield wiper.
- Take photos
Take pictures of the damage to both cars and the license plate number of the other car.
- Look for witnesses
Take a moment and look around for possible witnesses. Get their contact information and write down their description of what happened.
- Contact your insurance.
Most insurance companies require you to inform them of any accident. This will protect you if the damages are more than what you originally thought, or if you were to get sued.
- Contact your preferred body shop
Contact your preferred body shop (Offutt Collision Repair) and set up a time for an estimate!