ou know the scene: you leave a restaurant after a great meal or exit the store after shopping only to find your vehicle has been hit by an unknown person. You’re driving correctly but someone sideswipes you. After the big game you go to the parking lot only to find an opposing fan has slopped beer on your convertible because they disagree with your team license plate. What should you do?
First of all, try and figure out the who, what, and where. If you spotted the culprit, get their tag number immediately. Ask them for identification. If there’s no one in sight, go back to the venue and ask for security footage to determine what happened and if you can identify the person who caused the damage.
Try to determine how much damage there is, looking closely for minor things you might miss. Take several photos, and include some things that will identify the place you’re at.
Call the police to file an accident report, and call your insurance company to determine what they want you to do. Often there will be specific steps you must take to file a legitimate claim, and you don’t want to miss anything.
Your insurance company will be able to tell you if you have a legitimate claim, or whether they need additional information in order to cover the damages. For example, the guilty party might not be insured, or you might need to contact an attorney to file a suit to recover monies incurred. It all depends on the circumstances, and the insurance company will outline the rules.
Get one or more estimates as soon as possible. Use your receipt from the restaurant, store, or sports venue to show the time and date of occurance and the estimate time and date to verify when the vehicle was examined. That way if you have to go to court you’ll have proof of the date as well as photos of the fresh damage to show you have a legitimate claim.
Keep in mind that laws differ from state to state, and that’s why it’s so important that you contact your insurance carrier immediately.