Updated**Parking Lot Accident: Owner Hasn't Contacted as Yet

We had a parking lot accident in our local mall yesterday. Rather than worry the entire weekend on why the owner has'nt contacted us, I wanted to check with our resident experts.

Situation as below:
Spouse & I went in for our weekly shopping and was parking in a council controlled parking lot. While parking the car, spouse hit the car in front from a distance of about 3 metres. We could see damage to other car's number plate and probably the bumper too. We have similar bumper damage.
Mall management office was closed, so spouse waited near the car for good hour and half for the owner to return. Finally we had to leave for child pick up. We left a note on the windshield for the owner to contact us as we had to leave.We have also dropped an email message to the mall security from their website. Its been over 24 hours and we have not heard anything from the mall OR the car Owner.

Spouse is worried that the other car owner may file a hit and run case, even though we tried to do everything we could to contact them.

Needed expert opinion on what could we do to try and contact the owner? Should we contact the police OR my insurance company and inform them of this incident?

Update: Called the centre management today. They mentioned someone had called them enquiring for CCTV footage from last weekend for a parking incident. They will check and if it is the same car, they will pass on my spouse' contact details. Will wait for the owner to call us now. Thanks everyone for the responses and glad that this has ended with no major dramas or issues.


  • +14

    If you waited for them and left a note, not much more you are obliged to do. They may have walked around the car and noticed nothing or didn't care. Give it some more time and leave it up to them to contact you.

    Even if they do report it as "hit and run", you just tell the police the same story and say that you are happy to have your details passed onto the other party.

    • -3

      not much more you are obliged to do

      Other than contact the police, no.

      • No, not required for “minor” incidents. Don’t waste the police’s time over a bent number plate and a scratched bumper.

        What to do after a crash (and follow OP’s flowchart of “no” to each question)

        Exchange details and leave the crash site.
        You are NOT required to report the crash to police.

        • Read it closely: "Has anyone involved failed to exchange details?"
          You can't exchange details when the other party is not present.


          What if a driver crashes into an unattended parked car, a fence or other structure?
          If particulars are unable to be exchanged at a crash site for any reason, call police and they will assist.

        • The flow chart does not cover the OP's situation, where they are unable to exchange details with the other party.

          The NSW police web site does cover the OP's situation, and says this:

          What if a driver crashes into an unattended parked car, a fence or other structure?

          If particulars are unable to be exchanged at a crash site for any reason, call police and they will assist.


          Added later: Beaten to the exact same quote by mere minutes!

      • Sigh, yet more idiots negging factually correct statements.

    • Plus, you have this ozbargain post as evidence!! This will definitely stand up in court… 100%

  • +3

    Other owner may be going straight to their insurance to work it out, instead of calling you directly. Likely will get a letter or call from their insurance soon.

    • -1

      Would'nt the owner go to the mall management first to know which Car caused the accident? Would the insurance company initiate an investigation to find out our details OR would they contact the mall for this information?

      • +8

        Would'nt the owner go to the mall management first to know which Car caused the accident?

        If you left your details on their car, why would they need to?

        • Was responding to the statement "Other owner may go straight to their insurance company". Wouldn't their insurance company need the details of the car which caused this accident?

          We left our name and contact details, Not the details of our car. We expected the owner would call us, and get the details of our license and car rego details to initiate an insurance claim.

    • A lot of companies will charge u the excess if u don't have the other party's license details. So unlikely they would do contact their own insurance straight away

  • +1

    Looks like you have to get your bumper damage fixed anyway through your insurance company? If so lodge your claim.
    And it's only been 24 hours, so I wouldn't stress out. When the other party contacts you, you can give them your details for them to liaise directly with your insurance company.

  • -1

    if you have any accident what so ever you should report it to the police with the other cars numberplate,problem solved

    • +3

      You need to do that if you can't find the owner. Otherwise, the police are not interested.

  • +2

    You forgot to take a photo of the note you left on the car didn't you? Unless they can prove you intentionally hit & run then they don't have a leg to stand on. Plus you can use the email as proof.

  • +2

    From the description the damage is minor and negligible. Prob isn't worth claiming on insurance to fix it as it seems to be minor and not worth increasing insurance premiums for such damage. I doubt that a "hit n run" case would be reported for such minor damage, you've done what any reasonable person would do and left your info. There is no more you can really do in this instance so no need to stress over it.

  • Making my spouse read all the comments here to calm nerves.
    Thanks a lot everyone for the reassuring comments.
    Yes, took pictures of all damage and left name, contact number on the windshield. I can see one picture where a piece of paper is visible on the windshield, but nothing which clearly displays the content of the note.

    Good tip on estimating the costs. We have a $750 deductible on our insurance. If the repair costs are below that amount, it may be better off to pay directly.

    Will give it another day or two and probably call up the mall management office during working hours over the week to check if anyone has contacted them about this incident.

  • -2

    It's not enough to leave a note. If you can't find the owner, you have to make a police report. Technically, you can be charged if you do not.

    • This happened to a friend of mine who was a delivery driver. Scraped a parked car, left a very clear note with his contact details because he had other jobs to do and obviously couldn't stick around, got a visit at home from the police the next day. Ended up having to go to court (charged with leaving the scene of an accident) and wound up having to pay a fine and a few sessions of community service.

      • …maybe he was better not leaving a note then…..because his now out of his job….

        • He kept his job (and his licence).

          • @ssquid: oh…well I guess its not so bad then…

      • +2

        Probably had crap legal advice. He should have asked the cop "so how did you find me? Oh so I did leave details? I guess when you have an accident you will need to leave the scene at some point in the future or there'd be street loads of people standing about getting care packages because they couldn't leave the scene right?"

        • You don't think that came up in court?
          Any unattended damage has to be reported to the police, leaving a note is not legally satisfactory.

  • +1

    The simple probability is that the other driver has simply had better things to do and/or are simply dealing with their insurance company. On the latter point, in particular, this will need to go through an assessment process. I don't know what the end-to-end claims process is here, but wouldn't be surprised if you're not contacted by the insurance company until the damage has been assessed.

    The owner has no obligation to contact you directly and may not be planning on taking that route per the above.

    Regarding the "hit and run", nothing to worry about there. What are they going to do? Tell the police that this person who left a note on their car with all their relevant details did a hit and run? The same person that sent all the same details to centre management and who may well be on CCTV for a hour and half waiting for the owner? That's nothing to worry about.

    Regarding contact from centre management, I wouldn't expect contact from them. There's no role for them to play in any of this. At best you might get an courtesy acknowledgement note back and even then it's probably a "normal business hours" matter.

  • +1

    Next step - send the spouse back to driving school.

  • -1

    What kind of a car was it? More specifically, how old did it look? If it was an older car, chances could be the owner doesn't care about a few minor scratches.

  • You’ve done what you could, and probably more than most would have.

    Don’t stress, they have your details and will be in touch if they think it’s worth pursuing. You have no way of contacting them, so don’t bother about that. They may not ever contact you if the damage is not bad and they don’t care.

    If they are going through insurance it’ll take a few days extra. Remember you can negotiate with insurers unless you want to claim through yours.

  • +2

    Mall? Are you based in the US?

    • +6

      That was the problem, they were driving on the wrong side causing the impact!

      • … and hit it from 3 metres away….there's a challenge for science right there.

    • +2

      Parking lot too. We don’t say parking lot.

      • What do we say?

      • +4

        We don't say "deductible" either - we call it an excess. I was wondering about the Americanisms too.

        • So right. Never heard Aussies using that term.

        • So's windshield which is windscreen?

    • Must of been driving through the car lot.

    • +1

      Some shopping centres in Aus are known as "___ Mall". Belconnen Mall in Canberra is one. Very USA, but there it is.

      • +4

        Rundle Mall and Warringah Mall are the two I can think of.

        • +1

          Oh, Pitt St and Bourke St Malls too

          • +2

            @John Kimble: We used to refer to a mall as a shopping area that used to be a street, but closed off to traffic. ‘Pedestrian Mall’. There are heaps of them around.

            Anything purpose built, like with a carpark around it, is a shopping centre.

    • +1

      Warringah Mall, now owned by Westfield and rebranded as Westfield Warringah, is literally called "The Mall" by locals.

  • Well done, very amicable of you to own up.

  • So you reported it to police…. you did report it to police…. didn't you?

  • It's quite conceivable that the piece of paper stuck to the windscreen was chucked out as "parking lot junk mail" without the other driver even looking at it. If the damage to the car is minor, they may have not even noticed anything.

  • I rear ended a car once, I was 2nd at the lights and changing stations when my peripheral saw the light was green so I moved and hit the car in front of me. The paint was all peeling at the bumpers. I took his number, dad arranged to meet up with him, went to the place but he was a no show. Was probably an unlicensed driver lol. Never got a follow up about it.

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