As surprising as it may be, parking lot accidents can be just as costly and serious as those that occur on the road. Just like any other car accident, parking lot fender benders can expose you to potential liability.
A bump in a parking garage may not result in any significant injury or car damage, but the dings and dents can add up.
If you're involved in a fender bender in the parking lot, you may be tempted to turn beet red, make a few over-the-top gestures of how overwhelmed you are with the situation, and promptly race off. Resist the temptation!
As a golden liability rule is to never the leave the scene after an accident has occurred -- even after something as minor as a fender bender. In New York, you could face a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge for leaving the scene of an accident that results in property damage.
Depending on the circumstances of a person's case, a misdemeanor hit-and-run could lead to fines ranging anywhere from $250 to $5,000. The penalties are much stiffer for hit-and-run accidents that resulted in injury to a person.
To avoid any potential hit-and-run issues, make sure to take all necessary steps after a fender bender in a parking lot, including the following:
- Don't just "keep calm and carry on" -- call for help;
- Check for injuries and damage;
- Exchange information with the driver(s) involved;
- Record details and witnesses; and
- File a claim for damages.
The process of assessing fault for a car accident is relatively straightforward when a motorist engages in intentional or reckless misconduct, such as drunk driving. It's the run-of-the-mill acts of driver negligence, like fender benders and other routine accidents, when establishing fault becomes more complicated. It's not uncommon for more than one driver to be found at least partially responsible for a fender bender.
To minimize your exposure to personal liability from these mundane incidents, immediately contact your insurance carrier and report the accident. In New York, you are required to report a crash within 30 days to claim no-fault benefits.
For extra help on fending off liability for fender benders in parking lots, consider consulting a local car accident attorney.
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