It can be an unpleasant and confusing situation when your car is hit by another vehicle while parked. It only makes matters worse when the at-fault driver takes off without leaving a note or any contact information.,
When this happens, it leaves most people angry, frustrated, and uncertain about what exactly they should do. It raises the question of what exactly you should do if this scenario occurs. Depending on how serious the damage is to your vehicle, the police may or may not come out. But either way, it is crucial that you file a report even if you have to go to the police station. You need to make sure that the accident and the facts surrounding it are properly documented in the report.
If possible, get the at-fault driver’s name, address, e-mail, phone, and auto insurance information. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the positioning of the vehicles as well as the vehicle damage. Make sure to take at least one picture of the vehicle’s license plate.
You will want to keep this information for your own records, but you will also want the information included in the police report.
Should I file a police report?
Even if your vehicle was parked and you were not injured or even inside the vehicle when it was struck, it is still very important that you file a police report. This will officially document that the accident actually occurred – and that an at-fault driver’s carelessness or negligence caused it. Under Michigan law, any automobile crash involving vehicle damage of $1,000 or more must be reported and the police must file a police report. (MCL 257.622)
What if the at-fault driver left?
If someone hit your parked car and did not stay at the scene, that is a violation of the Michigan hit-and-run law which requires that anyone who causes vehicle damage in an accident “upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public” must remain and provide information to the other drivers and the police. (MCL 257.618(1))
Leaving the scene of an accident “that results in damage to a vehicle” is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than 90 days in jail or a $100 fine or both. (MCL 257.618(2))
What if I was inside my vehicle?
If someone crashed into your parked vehicle in Michigan while you were inside of it and if you were injured, then you can make a claim for No-Fault benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages. You may also be able to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation and “excess” medical expenses and wage loss.
To pay for any vehicle damage repair costs, you could sue the at-fault driver for up to $3,000 by filing a Michigan mini tort lawsuit or you could file a claim with your auto insurance company under your collision coverage.
Because you were inside of your vehicle when someone crashed into it and you were injured, your vehicle damage will not be covered by the at-fault driver’s “property protection insurance.” That only applies when a vehicle is unoccupied.
Do I have to pay a deductible?
If someone hit your parked car in Michigan and if you were not in the car, then you will not have to pay a deductible if you file a vehicle damage claim through the at-fault driver’s “property protection insurance” coverage. However, if you make a claim through your own collision coverage, then the terms of your policy will determine whether you must pay a deductible.
If you know the identity of the person who crashed into your unoccupied car, then your vehicle damage will be paid for through the driver’s property protection insurance or PPI, which covers “physical injury to or destruction of the property and loss of use of the property so injured or destroyed.” (MCL 500.3121(3))
Best case scenario, the driver will provide you his or her auto insurance information at the scene. Alternatively, the information may be provided if the driver leaves a note and/or files his or her own police report.
But if you do not know the identity of the other driver because he or she left the scene, then your only potential source of insurance coverage for the cost of repairing your vehicle damage is your own collision insurance – which may involve a deductible, depending on the type of coverage you purchased.