The past few days Utah residents have seen several example of hit and run auto accidents in the news. Interestingly, statistics show that you are more likely to be a victim of a hit and run if your car is parked than if you are actually and driving and get hit. It is certainly frustrating to come out of the grocery store and see a big dent on the bumper that wasn't there when you walked in. Some of the most common places to be involved in a hit and run collision are grocery stores, malls, sporting events and restaurants, all places with larger parking lots and cars that are frequently coming and going.
Did you know that Utah law says that if the accident is unattended, the driver that caused the damage must actually leave a clear, visible note? So that note is more than just a courtesy, it's a Utah law! The note must include the name, address and registration number of the vehicle that caused the damage. If you leave without reporting, you could face class B misdemeanor charges, reports ABC 4. You will then be forced to pay the damages to the vehicle along with the fine associated with the hit and run charge.
So what happens if you come out of that store and find your car has been damaged and the at-fault party hasn't left a note? Courtesy of Allstate Insurance, here are some tips for those drivers:
Survey your immediate surroundings for the other vehicle’s driver
Call the police
Get the facts at the scene (search for witnesses)
Check for surveillance cameras
Contact your insurance company
Fortunately, in data compiled in 200 of America's largest cities, Salt Lake City, Utah, ranks 179 out of 200 in hit and run crashes. In 2009, there were a total of 297 hit and run collisions reported, and 72% (216) happened when the car was parked and no occupants were present.
Ron Kramer is a Utah accident and injury attorney with offices in Provo, Draper and Bountiful, Utah.