We hear about them in the news more often than we probably would like — a car losing a fight with the front of a store or the side of a house. We think it could never happen to us, but if you do find yourself in that situation, what should you do? Here are some easy-to-follow steps to help you if you accidentally crash into a storefront.
Before you do anything, shut off your engine — if it’s still running — and asses yourself and any passengers you may have. See if anyone in the car is injured, and determine the extent of any injuries you have.
These accidents happen a lot — as many as 60 times a day in the United States alone. Make sure it’s safe for you to move. If you suspect any injuries, don’t get out of the car until first responders arrive.
If you can get out of the car, your next step is to assess the area around your car. There will likely be debris and other damage surrounding your car, so before you open the door, make sure it’s safe. The last thing you need is a wall collapsing on you because you bumped a damaged or unstable brick.
Step two is to call 911 to report your accident. Tell them the address, how many people have sustained injuries — either in your car or the store — and follow any instructions they give you. This step is the same as if you had gotten into an accident with another car. Chances are someone inside the store has already called 911 by this point, but to be safe, you should call as well.
If you don’t need first responders to take you to the hospital, the next step will be to talk to the store’s owner or the manager on duty. Just like getting into an accident out on the road, the store will need things like your contact and insurance information.
You will need to talk to the police who respond to the accident as well. The liability will hinge on the reason for the crash. The majority of these crashes are the result of operator error or pedal error — meaning the driver hit the wrong pedal or left the car in drive instead of reverse when trying to back out of a parking space. The rest are due to driving while intoxicated, traffic accidents — either because of the accident or the result of trying to avoid the accident — and medical emergencies.
Only a small percentage of these crashes are purposeful, where people drive into a building or house to try to steal something.
When it comes to paying for damages, that will be between your insurance company and the store’s business insurance, at least to start. Accidents happen, even if that accident leaves your front end a little too far into your favorite coffee shop or business.
No one wants to think about being one of those people who drives into a storefront, but it does happen. Treat it just like any other car accident, and you’ll be driving again in no time.