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Should I call the police if I get in a parking lot accident?

You are driving through a California parking lot when all of a sudden you are struck by another vehicle. In the immediate aftermath, you are not certain what to do. If you got into an accident while driving on the road, you would call the police to file a report. But a parking lot is a different story. There, you are on private property, not a public street. So should you call the police if you get into a parking lot accident? Actually, it is very wise to do so.

A piece in the U.S. News and World Report advises motorists to call the police following a parking lot accident. For one thing, calling in the police means you can file a formal police report with them. This is vital in the event you or the other motorist or anyone involved in the accident sustained an injury. If you don't have a police report filed, the other driver may come along later and sue you, and all you have is your word against the word of the other driver.

However, parking lot accidents are not a high priority for the police if they do not involve bodily injury or if the damage to the vehicles is too minor. They may not show up if you sustained an impact to your bumper and only received a dent for your pains. Also, in the event your area is being hit with bad weather, like high wind, heavy downpours or flooding, the police may forego sending a unit to your location.

On the other hand, reporting a parking lot accident can still benefit you even if the police do not come out to meet you. The authorities can still advise you on your next step. They may tell you to file a report online, or to proceed to a police station to make the report there. Anything you can do to produce a formal accident report can only help when it comes time to contact the insurance company of the other driver for damages.

This article is intended to inform the reader about parking lot accidents and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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