It’s that time of year again. Holiday shopping is in full swing. And while many people now shop online, stores and shopping malls are still America’s destination during the holidays. As anyone holiday shopper can tell you, driving and parking your car during these busy times can be stressful and exhausting. Unfortunately, during these busy times drivers are often distracted when looking for places to park.
As a result holiday parking lot accidents are common. The good news is that these accidents are often minor low speed accidents that do not result in any injuries. The bad news is that they still result in property damage. So, what should you do if you are involved in a parking lot accident?
First, you should understand that police departments do not ordinarily investigate accidents on private property. So, unless the accident occurs on a public road on the way to the store, it is unlikely that the police will investigate the scene. Some smaller municipal police departments may investigate the scene if its within their jurisdiction, but ordinarily larger city police departments won’t. You should be prepared when you’re told that the police will not respond.
It’s important in these types of accidents that you gather as much information as possible. Fortunately, technology today has made it easier to document the scene of an accident. It is important that you document the scene of the accident as it exists at the time the collision occurred. It is not uncommon for people to change their recollection of the accident or the information they provide once they leave the scene.
Many insurance companies now have phone Apps that help you in the event you’ve been in an accident. These Apps are designed to assist your insurance company in documenting the important facts surrounding the accident. This will make it easier to file a claim, assess the damage, or document the scene. If you do not have an App, it is important to photograph the scene and the vehicles at the time of the collision. Often times, parking lots are poorly marked and identifying the at fault driver after the collision without some type of photographic reference may be difficult. Take wide shots of the scene along with closer shots of the damage. This will assist the insurance companies in determining who is responsible and for what damages are incurred once a claim is filed.
You should also get information on the other driver, any passengers, and any witnesses to the accident. As with photographs, a picture of their driver’s license card will do. Make sure that you get a picture of their insurance card as well. If you do not have a cell phone with a camera, take the information down by hand. Get as much information as you can. Make sure you exchange this information with the other driver involved.
Once you have gotten all the information you need, it is important that you file a Kentucky Civilian Collision Report. This report can now be filed online at https://kentuckystatepolice.org/civilian-collision-reports/. You only need to fill out this form if the accident was not investigated by a police officer and the damage is above $500. Given the price of most cars, this is not a huge amount. If you are unsure of the damage, go ahead and fill out the form. Most insurance companies prefer that some official form or report is completed and attested to in order to help reduce the chances of fraud.
It is possible for someone to be injured, even in low speed minor impacts. The human body simply has not evolved to be in accidents between large heavy cars traveling at speeds ranging from 5-15 mph. If someone is injured in a holiday parking accident, the police will need to be called, along with any emergency personnel. Most police departments will investigate an accident on private property if it does involve an injury. In those cases, it is important to provide the assisting officer with any pertinent information he requests.
Holiday shopping can be fun and exciting, especially for the little kid in all of us. However, the distractions caused by crowded stores and shopping malls can increase the chances of a holiday parking lot accident. Exercise caution. Be alert. And, know what to do if you are involved in a holiday parking lot accident.