Parking illegally in Dallas can increase the risk of a car accident, as it may place the vehicle in an unsafe or problematic position. If you strike a vehicle that was parked illegally, you and the owner of the other car may share fault. Take the following steps after striking an illegally parked car in Texas to increase your odds of holding the other driver accountable.
Although most collisions involving parked cars are not serious enough to require reporting to the police, you are legally obligated to call 911 as soon as possible if your car accident causes injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in apparent property damage. If you struck an illegally parked car with enough velocity to meet these parameters, Texas law requires you to call the police right away to report the car accident.
Texas Transportation Code Title 7, Section 550.024 states that upon striking an unattended vehicle, the driver of a car must immediately stop, locate the owner of the unattended vehicle and exchange contact information (name and address). If the illegally parked car is unattended, it is your legal responsibility to make a good-faith attempt to locate the owner. This may mean asking around in nearby stores to try to locate the owner.
If you try your best but cannot find the owner of the illegally parked car, you can still fulfill your driver responsibilities by leaving a written notice in a conspicuous place on the unattended vehicle or securely attaching it to the car. This note should have your name, address and a brief description of how the collision happened. That way, the driver will have a way of contacting you when he or she returns.
Before you leave the scene of the car accident, take photographs of the site and the damage to both vehicles. Photographs and video footage can provide strong evidence for your injury or property damage claim later.
Use your smartphone or a camera to document the scene in detail. Turn on the date feature to prove the time and date of the collision. Take photographs of the damage to both vehicles up close, as well as wider shots of the entire crash scene. Be sure to document the fact that the other car was parked illegally, such as pictures of a No Parking sign.
It is wise to gather any other available forms of evidence, as well. The more evidence you collect, the stronger your case against the other driver will be. If the collision took place in a business district of Dallas, go to nearby businesses and ask if they have surveillance cameras that may have caught the crash on tape. If anyone witnessed the collision, ask for their contact information so that you can collect eyewitness statements. If you were injured in the crash, go to a hospital in Dallas right away and request copies of your medical records. Finally, if you called the police, ask for your police report number.
When you are ready, call your own auto insurance company to file an initial report of the crash. Most insurance companies require immediate reporting, so do not delay. Do not admit fault for the car accident during your conversation with an insurance claims adjuster and do not sign anything given to you by the insurance company. Your insurance company may try to devalue your claim or blame you for the collision. Instead of accepting a fast settlement that may not adequately cover your injuries and losses, contact a car accident lawyer in Dallas to discuss your rights.
A car accident attorney can help you prove that the other driver is at least partially to blame for the accident for parking illegally. Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning that both you and the owner of the illegally parked car could share fault or liability for the accident. However, your percentage of fault will reduce the amount of financial recovery that you can receive for your medical bills and property damage. An experienced car accident lawyer in Dallas can help you prove your case to maximize your financial outcome.