What to do if your vehicle is damaged in a parking lot

Have you ever returned to your parked car only to find a note on the windshield apologizing for the door dent or scrape? Or worse yet, no note and only the carnage left behind?

For many of us, parking lot dings and dents are a fact of life — but do you know what to do if there’s been damage to your vehicle or you’ve accidentally damaged someone else’s? 

First and foremost, if someone has been injured, call the police, paramedics, and report the incident. For minor accidents, here’s the playbook on how to handle it:

If your vehicle is damaged
You won’t be at-fault. If the individual who damaged your vehicle is no longer on the scene and hasn’t left their contact information, look around for possible witnesses so that you can gather more information for when you contact the police to file a report. Note that you are required by law to file a report if the damage exceeds $2,000 or if someone has been injured. 

You should also take a few photos of the area and the damage to your vehicle, as this may help with your insurance claim. You have seven days in which to report the accident to your broker, agent, or insurance copy.

If you hit a vehicle
Stay on the scene — if you leave, you could potentially be charged with a hit-and-run offence. If you are unable to locate the driver, leave a note with all of your contact information. It’s also recommended that you take a photo of the scene and the damage to share with your insurance company and talk to any witnesses and request their contact information in case you require their statement in the future.  

General rules of the (parking lot) road
Many parking lots are privately owned. Accidents in a private parking lot are not subject to the same laws under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act , however there are some rules that apply equally to private lots as on public roadways. Among the most important is that drivers must obey any traffic signs within the parking lot, and vehicles in a thoroughfare lane have the right-of-way over vehicles in secondary lanes or those exiting from a parking spot. 

Private property owners keeping their parking lots safe
Some business owners elect to outsource the management of their parking and logistics to trained professionals such as Carraway Traffic. By enlisting logistics and parking management services, business owners are able to provide a safer and more organized on-site experience that results in fewer near misses and reduced damage to vehicles. 

Look for the Carraway team at conferences, event venues, corporate functions, and more across the Greater Toronto Area.

Carraway Traffic & Safety is committed to providing superior traffic management solutions that make sharing the road safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. 

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