What Should I do After an Accident in a Parking Lot?
Accidents inside parking lots can result in injuries, property damage, or both. In many cases, individuals are confused about what steps to take after a collision takes place in a parking lot, particularly when it comes to jurisdiction and who to call. Here, we want to discuss the steps you should take after experiencing a parking lot accident.
1. Assess the Situation and Injuries
The very first step that you need to take after an accident inside of a parking lot is to assess yourself and your passengers for injuries. Additionally, look around your vehicle to gain an initial understanding of whether or not there are any safety hazards such as oil or gasoline spills. You can take the time to check for injuries of others involved in the accident if you so choose.
2. Call 911 and Report the Incident
You should dial 911 and report the incident to the police dispatcher. Depending on the severity of the incident, the dispatcher may send law enforcement officials, fire personnel, and EMS personnel to the scene. However, do not be surprised if a dispatcher does not send anyone if the incident is relatively minor and you do not report any injuries. For a parking lot accident, you may be instructed to exchange insurance information with the other party.
There is no requirement to report an accident in North Carolina that does not involve injuries, a fatality, or property damage. However, you need to exchange insurance information with the other party anyway because stories may change after the scene is cleared, and you need to be sure that you have left identifying information.
3. Seek Medical Care
If you or a loved one have sustained any injuries in the vehicle accident, you need to go to the hospital or a doctor immediately. There needs to be a strong link between the parking lot accident and any injuries you sustain so insurance carriers can see the connection. Additionally, you should continue all medical treatment recommended by your doctor until they say you have fully recovered.
4. Gather Evidence
At the scene of the incident, you should do what you can to gather as much evidence as possible, particularly if law enforcement officials do not come to investigate. This includes using your cell phone to take pictures of everything, including any damage, the positioning of the vehicles when the incident occurred, debris or skid marks, and more. Take a panoramic shot or video of the entire parking lot area. Additionally, if there were any eyewitnesses to the parking lot accident, write down their names and contact information before they leave the scene.
5. Call Your Insurer
Contact your insurance carrier to report the vehicle accident, even if the police did not come. By notifying your insurance carrier, they will be aware of the situation and be ready to handle any claim made by the other driver involved. Do not go into much detail when you first speak to the insurance carrier. Just let them know that the incident happened, where it occurred, and that you are seeking medical care for any injuries you sustained.
6. Contact an Attorney
You may need to consider contacting a skilled Raleigh personal injury lawyer for help if you sustained an injury or significant property damage in the accident. An attorney can investigate the incident and help you take the best steps moving forward for your situation.