The Next Steps After a Parking Lot Car Accident

You’re backing out of your spot in the grocery store parking lot, thinking about the delicious dinner you are going to make when crunch! Your car accidentally scrapes against the side of the parked car in the spot next to you, leaving a dent. But the driver of the other car is nowhere to be seen, leaving you wondering what you’re supposed to do next.

According to a viral Facebook post, a similar incident happened in a Denver, Colorado parking lot last month. When a woman came out of her office and found a scratch on the side of her car, she also found a strange surprise: $40, a joint filled with marijuana, and a note proclaiming that the culprit was “sorry 4 the scratch.” She’s taking the damage to her car in stride, and plans to use the money to contribute to her repair expenses. She isn’t planning to smoke the marijuana, which is legal in Colorado.

But in most situations, $40 dollars and a note of apology isn’t enough. Even minor damage can be pricey to repair. Plus, if the other driver wants to seek damages, they’ll need your information. So what should you do?

Stay at the Scene

If you hit another vehicle, even if no one else is around, stay at the scene.  Leaving could be considered a hit-and-run, which could lead to fines, misdemeanor charges, or even jail time. Plus, staying at the scene is just the responsible and considerate thing to do! If the owner of the other car arrives, you can explain the incident to them in-person, and make sure all proper information is exchanged.

Leave a Note

If no one shows up, leave a note. It should include basic information like your name, contact information, and your insurance information. You should also include a brief description of the accident, but don’t get into too many details.  For example, don’t write that the accident happened because you weren’t paying attention.  If the other driver decides to settle with an insurance company, your note could be used against you. Leave the note in a conspicuous place, like the windshield wipers.

Do the Right Thing!

Before you leave, take pictures of the damage to both vehicles, as well as the other vehicle’s license plate number. If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their name and contact information.

It might not be easy to fess up to hitting someone’s car, but if it happened to you, you would want to be treated fairly, and should treat others the same way!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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