SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - It can be one of the most frustrating things… someone hits your car in the parking lot, then takes off, leaving you with an expensive repair. So what are your options, and can you make the other driver pay up for your damage?
It's probably happened to you at some point, a tight parking space and a door swinging open that makes contact. WBTV staked out several parking lots today to see how people handled a tight parking space. One woman we watched with interest was Mayebeth Scott.
Mrs. Scott didn't see our camera, but we watched her gently open the door to her SUV and continually look down at the car next to her to make sure that the door didn't hit it.
"I just didn't want to hit the car and I would hope everybody would do that," Scott said.
Unfortunately that is not always the case. Just ask Brian Shaw, he's the manager of Sudden Impact Paint and Body.
"We see a lot of cars with door dings, cars get bumped up at big shopping centers, parking lots, a lot of times people are not leaving notes," Shaw said."If there's a crease or the paint is broken, you'll have to go with conventional repair."
Shaw says the options to get a ding fixed vary widely in cost, and it depends on which method of repair you use. Paintless dent removal, which uses highly specialized tools is the cheapest, but is only for minor dings.
"PDR repair can ballpark anywhere between $30 and $150, where conventional repair to fix, you know, a small quarter, half dollar size ding on a door you're looking at $300 to $350 depending on the placement," Shaw added.
Shaw also added that not fixing a ding can lead to more damage.
"If the paint's broken it could lead to rust or corrosion," Shaw added. "It's depending on what the paints made out of, and of course, it looks ugly."
And who pays for your repair? Call your insurance agent.
"If they have a question I would expect them to call me and ask me," said Salisbury insurance agent John Leatherman, "If it truly did damage you need to call the police."
Leatherman says it may be covered under collision, but you may have to pay the deductible.
"If it's collision, which is striking of the vehicle other than vandalism, then it's going to have a deductible," Leatherman added.
And some policies will require a police report. Leatherman also says the best scenario is to try and work it out with the person who caused the damage.
"If you know who the person is, and if they're willing to admit to a third party that they're willing to fix it, then I would personally be satisfied with that," Leatherman added.
The very best scenario would seem to be to simply be careful getting out of your car and try to avoid a tight spot, if possible.