When life gets busy, it’s easy to relinquish attention to some small details: Are you wearing matching socks? Did you eat breakfast? Is there enough room to back out of a parking spot without hitting the car parked behind or next to you?
If you realized that no, there wasn’t enough room, once you heard your car crunch into the other vehicle, then this blog is for you. Do you have to stop and leave a note? What if nobody saw you? What if there’s no damage to the cars? Instead of taking a wild guess and risking legal liability, read below.
If There Is Damage to the Parked Car
The Texas Transportation Code establishes that if a driver hits an unattended vehicle, they are required to immediately stop their car and locate the owner of the parked car. If this is not possible, the law states that you are obligated to leave a note including your name, address, and a summary of what happened. The note has to be attached securely in a plainly visible spot on or in the parked car.
Failing to comply with this requirement is considered a misdemeanor. This means exposing yourself to criminal liability. Even if you think no one saw you, you could find out later that you were observed, whether by surveillance footage or witness testimony.
If There Is No Damage to the Parked Car
Section 550.024 of the Texas transportation code does not differentiate between incidents when there is damage to the parked car and when there is no damage. Therefore, regardless of the circumstances, you are required to leave a note with your contact information, as described above.
What If There Was Someone in the Car?
Do note that the provisions above apply to unattended vehicles. There’s a different requirement when there’s a person inside the car you hit. If there is someone in the car, you have to give them your car insurance information and vehicle registration number. If the person asks to see your driver’s license, you are obligated to show it.
If someone was injured, you are duty-bound to render assistance. This includes either providing transportation to a hospital or making arrangements for alternate transportation. Even if an injury isn’t apparent, if the person in the car requests transportation for medical assistance, you must provide it.
In either scenario, when you stop to provide information and render aid, you must do so without blocking traffic (to the extent possible). Word to the wise; use your phone camera to take pictures of the scene and any damage to either vehicle.
What If There a Was Serious Injury or Death?
You are always obligated to render aid and to avoid obstruction of traffic. However, while a hit and run in a minor accident may be a misdemeanor, it’s considered a felony when a driver leaves the scene of an accident where someone was injured or killed.
Therefore, always stop the vehicle, render assistance, and wait for the police to arrive. If you cannot provide aid due to the nature of the injuries, call 911 and stay at the scene of the accident until the person receives help.
Auto Accident Attorneys in Texas
If you’ve hit a parked car and need to know how to move forward, the auto accident attorneys at The Weycer Law Firm can help.
Note: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.