As a personal injury lawyer handling car accident cases in the Saint Petersburg area, I field a lot of questions about parking lot accidents. It’s true that these incidents are treated a little differently because parking lots are generally considered private property. In many cases, this means that the police will not respond to take reports and ensure the trading of contact information. If you are involved in a parking lot accident, it is important to make wise decisions to protect yourself and your assets.
Though cell phones have received a lot of attention for the part they can play in causing serious accidents, they should not be completely demonized. After all, that very same smartphone, which might land a teenager in a fender-bender, can also be used to call for help when a person is stranded after a single-car accident. It can also be very beneficial in a parking lot crash because of the tools contained on it. Among the handy aspects of a smartphone is the camera and this feature should be put to major use after a collision.
Don’t even think about straightening out your vehicle, pulling back into the parking space. First, take photos. The most useful will be those that show the ending positions of the vehicles involved. Snap several shots of the accident, of your car and the others for varying angles and distances, so you can clearly demonstrate to a third party what the scene looked like in the moments after impact.
Without a police report and without St. Petersburg law enforcement gathering witness statements, these photos will be even more important in a parking lot accident case. Regardless of what the other individual says about the accident – even if he or she admits full fault – take the pictures. You never know what will happen when the person has had some time to think on it for a few hours or days. It is also a good idea to email the photos to yourself or someone you can trust, so they are saved on a server and not just your phone.
EXCHANGE CONTACT INFORMATION
Although it can be tempting to walk away from the accident and try to forget it ever happened, it is a big risk to take. You would be wise to write down the insurance and contact information of the other driver(s) involved. As mentioned above, though a person admits guilt in the crazy moments after a crash, he or she can quickly change the story when speaking to an insurance company representative.
Be sure when you do collect these details that you are able to refer to the correct driver. The problem with copying down information from the insurance card alone is that the driver of the car may not be the owner of the car or of the insurance policy. The car could have been borrowed by a son, brother, girlfriend, or someone else. You must be able to direct your insurance company or attorney to the correct person, so ask to see a driver’s license as well.
SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY
When the hectic moments have passed and you have sought medical care for any injuries received, you can begin to consider the need for a personal injury attorney. It is wise to call, even if you aren’t sure that there is a case. This is especially true if you were seriously injured or if your car received substantial damage.