Car accidents are always stressful, but a hit and run can be especially overwhelming. Whether you’re the victim or a witness, it’s crucial to know what to do in the immediate aftermath of a hit and run. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about dealing with a hit and run, including what to do at the scene, how to report it, and what to expect afterwards.
What is a hit and run?
A hit and run is a car accident where one driver flees the scene without stopping to exchange information or offer assistance. Hit and run accidents can involve pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles, and can range from minor fender benders to serious collisions.
What to do at the scene of a hit and run
If you’re involved in a hit and run, your first priority should be ensuring your own safety and that of any passengers or bystanders. If anyone requires medical attention, call 911 immediately.
Once you’ve assessed the situation, try to gather as much information as possible about the other driver and their vehicle. This can include their license plate number, make and model of their car, and any distinguishing features (such as bumper stickers or window decals). If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information and see if they can provide additional details.
If you have a dashcam or other recording device in your vehicle, make sure to save the footage. This can be crucial evidence in identifying the other driver and proving fault.
Reporting a hit and run
After a hit and run, it’s important to report the incident to the police as soon as possible. Even if the other driver is never found, reporting the accident creates an official record that can be useful for insurance purposes.
When you call the police, provide as much information as possible about the incident and the other driver. If you have a license plate number or other identifying information, make sure to share it with the officer. They will likely ask for your own contact information, as well as that of any witnesses.
Dealing with insurance after a hit and run
If you have collision coverage on your car insurance policy, it can help cover the cost of repairs after a hit and run. However, you will typically need to pay your deductible before coverage kicks in.
If the other driver is identified and found to be at fault, their insurance may also be responsible for covering your damages. However, if they don’t have insurance or can’t be located, you may need to rely on your own insurance policy.
Legal implications of a hit and run
In addition to being a criminal offense, leaving the scene of an accident can also result in civil penalties. If the other driver is identified, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages for any injuries or property damage.
If you are the victim of a hit and run, it’s important to speak with a personal injury lawyer who can advise you on your legal options. They can help you navigate the complex process of pursuing compensation and holding the other driver accountable.
Dealing with a hit and run can be a stressful and frustrating experience, but it’s important to stay calm and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. By gathering information at the scene, reporting the incident to the police, and working with your insurance company, you can begin to recover from the accident and move forward.
- What should I do if I witness a hit and run?
If you witness a hit and run, try to gather as much information as possible about the other driver and their vehicle. This can include their license plate number, make and model of their car, and any distinguishing features. Call the police and provide them with this information, as well as your own contact information.
- What if I don’t have collision coverage on my insurance policy?
If you don’t have collision coverage on your insurance policy, you may need to pay for repairs out of pocket or pursue a lawsuit against the other driver to recover damages.
- Can I still file a claim with my insurance company if the other driver is never found?
Yes, you can still file a claim with your insurance company even if the other driver is never found. This is why it’s important to have comprehensive coverage on your policy.
- What if I was injured in a hit and run?
If you were injured in a hit and run, seek medical attention immediately and report the incident to the police. You may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a hit and run?
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a hit and run varies by state, but is typically between one and three years. It’s important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines.