Can I File a Claim if Someone Hits My Parked Car in Ocala, FL?
Bill Allen | July 12, 2023 | Car Accidents
“Someone hit my parked car.” Can you file a car accident claim if someone hits your parked car in Ocala, Florida? The short answer is probably not, at least regarding a claim against the at-fault party.
Like most questions relating to the law, however, it gets more complicated than that. In other words, that “no” answer is not absolute. Rather, it depends on certain other factors outlined below.
Causes of Parked Car Accidents
Parked car accidents occur for any number of reasons. They might occur, for example, because a driver:
- Swerves to avoid hitting another car, thereby hitting yours;
- Backs into your car in a parking lot;
- Strikes your car as they are “weaving” down the road while drunk;
- Sideswipes your car while pulling out of a parking space;
- Suffers a tire blowout, thereby losing control of their car;
- Swerves to avoid a pedestrian crossing the street;
- Backs into you in a parking structure;
- Loses control of their car after suffering a medical emergency while driving; or
- Hits you on the freeway because you parked your car on the shoulder of the road due to mechanical problems.
There are dozens of more common reasons why a driver might strike your parked car. Sometimes a parked car accident is a third party’s fault, and sometimes it is nobody’s fault.
Steps To Take Immediately After a Parked Car Accident
Take the following steps as soon as you can after a parked car accident:
- Photograph the scene of the accident and the damage to your car from many different angles.
- Exchange contract and insurance details with the at-fault driver (except in the event of a hit-and-run accident, of course).
- Call the police and cooperate with them while they make out a police report.
- File the appropriate insurance claim, if any is available.
Florida law requires you to notify the police if the damage appears to be $500 or more. Even a scratch could add up to more than $500 of damage.
Were You Inside the Car at the Time of the Collision?
Were you injured in the accident? Naturally, you are highly likely to have suffered injury if you were inside the car at the time of the accident. If the accident occurred on the shoulder of a freeway, even death is not out of the question.
Can You Locate the Driver Who Hit You?
It is quite common for a driver who hits your parked car to leave the scene of the accident without providing their contact details. This is especially likely if you were not inside the car at the time of the accident. If the driver doesn’t leave a note, you might be forced to rely on your own resources to pay for the accident.
What Types of Insurance Do You Carry?
Paying for an accident caused by a hit-and-run driver is going to be far less of a problem if you are well-insured.
Florida’s Mandatory Minimum Insurance
Florida requires all drivers with cars registered in-state to carry at least the following amounts of auto insurance before they are qualified to drive on state roads:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance; and
- $10,000 in property damages liability (PDL) insurance.
Even if you carry both of these types of insurance, neither of them will help you pay for damage to your car after a hit-and-run parked car accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance
Florida PIP insurance only pays for a portion of your medical bills and lost wages, in addition to death benefits. If you were injured in the parked car accident, you may be able to utilize this coverage.
Property Damage Liability Insurance (PDL)
PDL does pay for property damage, but only for damage that you cause to another person. If you can locate the at-fault driver, however, you can file a third-party property damage claim against the at-fault driver’s PDL policy. This is your most favorable option if you can locate them.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance
Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance is optional in Florida. It pays for your own property damage and bodily injury in a hit-and-run accident or if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. If you have it, it can help you pay for both property damage and bodily injury.
The purpose of collision coverage is to pay for damage to your own car. Collision coverage is optional in Florida, but if you have it, you can use it to pay for damage to your car up to the limits of your policy.
Talk to an Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer if You’re Not Sure of Your Options
If someone hit your parked car, the damage might be significant. If it is, you might want to consider scheduling a free initial consultation with an Ocala, Florida, auto accident lawyer, even if you don’t plan on going to trial.
Contact Our Ocala Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
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