Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Former Traffic Court Judge

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Hit a parked car? Here's what you should do

Hitting a parked car is something that no one intends to do but that does happen. Maybe the parking space was smaller than expected or the vehicle wasn't as far away as you thought when it happened. Whatever the reason is, if you hit a parked car, there are some steps you should follow.

If you hit a parked car, you need to stay at the scene no matter what. If you leave, you'll potentially be accused of a hit-and-run crash, which could result in charges. Hit-and-run charges also have the potential to disqualify you from jobs you need to drive for and add up to six points to your license.

Try to locate the owner of the vehicle. If you can't, it's okay to leave a note. The note should include information on how to contact you, so the other party has a way to reach out about the collision. Include your name, phone number, email address, explanation of the accident and other information that you feel is important. Try not to explain yourself too much in the note; saying you hit the vehicle is enough.

If you leave the scene and don't leave the information, don't think you'll get away with it; there are security cameras and other evidence that might be used against you by law enforcement. If that happens, you'll face more serious penalties than if you'd stayed at the scene.

If you left the scene after hitting a car, you may wish to look into your legal options. Our website has more on what to do if you're accused of a hit-and-run crash.

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