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If You Hit an Unoccupied Car Should You Remain at the Scene?

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 16 Oct 2015 | comments*Discuss
If You Hit An Unoccupied Car Should You Remain At The Scene?

Q.One of my employees had an accident with an unoccupied car on a retail park.

As no one was around he left his contact details and those of his inusurer on the cars windscreen. Two weeks later we have received a form from the police (form 109 (R4/09)) stating they intend to prosecute him for leaving the scene of an accident.

I was wondering if there are any precedents or specific ruling here as I cant find any. Does this mean that if you hit someones un-occupied car you are expected to hang around, waiting for them to turn up?

(C.L, 22 June 2009)


One of the most crucial aspects of driving is responsibility. Whether it's using defensive driving to stay safe, being aware and under control at all times, or following the correct procedure at the scene of an accident, responsibility is key. Many people are vaguely aware of what they should do at the scene of an accident when it involves someone else, but when you've accidently hit a stationary vehicle which has nobody in it at the time, the rules can become blurred for most.

Overall, the rule for any collision is that you must stop and exchange details. This covers accidents with moving vehicles, pedestrians and even stationary vehicles. With regards to unoccupied stationary vehicles however, it's obvious that you can't wait around for a lengthy period of time for the individual who owns the car to return.

In this case, the correct and legal thing to do is then go to the police and report the issue. In doing this, you have exchanged details with the police who will then pass them onto the car owner. You may also want to leave your details at the scene. Remember to give your name, a contact number and your insurance details if you have them.

Your employee appears to have done the right thing by leaving his details at the accident scene, especially since he was at that time unable to exchange details, however, he should have then gone on to report the matter to the police. Assuming that he did not, this could explain why he received the Police Form 109 (R4/09) stating that they were intending to prosecute him for leaving the scene of an accident.

The main issue that you now need to address is whether the other party involved (the car owner) is willing to accept that he found the note with your employees details on it. In most cases, the other party are happy to accept this and generally the police will then cease any further action. There is the chance your employee may receive a warning, but this may also be dropped.

If the police do intend to continue with their prosecution, your employee must obtain the services of a specialist lawyer who is used to dealing with car crime and accidents. There are a number of excellent lawyer firms available who can advise further on this situation and it's important that it is not left too late if the police are intending to move forward with prosecution. Overall, the main issue is that you must always stop and exchange details in an accident and if you can't do this, report the matter to the police as soon as possible.

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Cars better have fluorescent reflectors or lights on the inside of their doors. High visibility gives drivers more time to react. If the car is black, drivers will have a hard time seeing the opened door at night. Stopping requires a certain amount of distance and swerving to avoid hazards can lead to a head-on collision. If you see a car door open in front of you, it's good to warn with your horn because you don't people to jump out. He may shut the door.
Brian - 16-Oct-15 @ 10:56 PM
Someone hit my car while it Was parked on a main road. They even forced my car to mount the sidewalk with both wheels and push it along to the next house in the street. They left no note or anything all I know is it is white and it looks as if it's been a box van as they have low metal bar that's lifted the car and forced it forward. I was visiting family in Liverpool and have a 7 month old son. As there is no witnesses which am sure someone saw it happen after 9 am on a Friday morning the police are not interested and my insurance won't give me another car as they can't pin point who done it. Thus I have been left stranded in Liverpool with my son. I basically have to pay to get the train and pay for the excess of my car and will lose my no claims all because of someone else. Make you think what sort of person would do that especially having a baby seat and sign in your car.
Wadeycakes - 20-Jul-15 @ 12:46 AM
@Winkles. You can't really. You'd have to make contact via the police or insurance company.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 16-Jun-15 @ 2:00 PM
I just saw a guy attempting to park his car, whilst on his mobile phone, hit another parked vehicle and just walk off. I can't see the area where the vehicle struck to see how much damage has been done but want to report this idiot anyway. I have both reg plate numbers. How do I contact the owner of the vehicle he hit?
Winkles - 11-Jun-15 @ 8:56 PM
I clipped a wing mirror of a parked car, I stopped checked the vehicles & there was no damage to either vehicle, so continued. A neighbour has reported this to the police as an accident, does this class as an accident? No damage? What should I have done?
Hay hay - 28-May-15 @ 8:31 AM
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