What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Fleeing at the scene of a collision with pedestrians or another car is an offense. It attracts a fine, other penalties, and even prison terms. An accident becomes a hit-and-run if a driver leaves the collision scene without offering assistance to others involved in the mishap. The offending driver may intentionally cause the accident and flee without disclosing personal details or helping the victims.
It is necessary to stay at the accident scene if the other party takes off. You have to call the police and talk to the witnesses. It is best to carefully document the collision for the police and your insurance provider. Your documentation will be useful in making a police report. However, it can be a bit complicated since a driver took off. You can take the following steps when you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident.
Stay at the Scene
You could be in a difficult position if you leave the accident scene. Even when you aren’t at fault, taking off after a collision is wrong. The police may question your conduct. If you do so in some states, you might get a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the accident’s severity. You have to stay calm and wait for the arrival of the police.
Besides, it will help to talk to people who witnessed the incident. The eyewitness account is evidence of the accident.
Safety Is a Priority
If a collision occurs, ensure that everyone involved in it is safe. It is best to check yourself and others for injuries. Call the emergency number for help if someone has got injured. Getting medical assistance should be urgent as the accident victims may be in shock too. Once you call emergency, dispatchers can send an ambulance and ensure that everyone involved in the accident is safe.
Your car may be in a dangerous position after a collision. You and the other occupants of the vehicle should move out to a safe distance. If you can get the car to a safe location, carefully maneuver it away from other traffic to avoid another mishap.
Call the Police
It is best to call the police as soon as possible even if nobody is injured. The sooner the police arrive at the accident scene, the better. They can start investigating the incident immediately. It will help if you file an official police report without delay. Your report will help law enforcement to track the fleeing driver.
You can ask for a copy of the accident report made by the officer who came to the scene. Your insurance provider may request a police report to accompany the claim you filed. Besides, the report will strengthen your claim.
Document as much information as possible about the accident, the fleeing driver, and the car. It is better to write down the pieces of information than to depend on your memory. You may miss out on some details when you recount the incident in the future. Besides, visuals can capture details that you didn’t notice. You can take pictures to support your report.
Take note of the following:
– The date, time, and location of the crash
– The fleeing vehicle’s brand, color, and model,
– Its license plate number,
– The vehicle’s direction of travel,
– A description of the driver
– Description of any damage to the vehicle
– Pictures of damages to your car
Some people may be around at the time of the incident, especially if pedestrians are involved. Ask such individuals to give their statements to the police. Then, get their contact details if they gave an account of the accident.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Before you leave the collision scene, ensure that the police are through with their report. You will need a copy of the statement when you file your claim. Your next action should be to contact your insurer to seek financial recovery for the damages from the accident. If possible, file your claim the same day or sooner when your memory of the collision is still fresh.
The financial compensation you will receive from the accident depends on whether the police could identify the other driver. Besides, the type of insurance both parties have also played a significant role. You will pay the accident costs if the police can’t locate the other driver. However, if you have coverage auto insurer and your policy covers the expenses, your auto insurer will pay for the damages.
The coverage for hit-and-run accidents varies across states. Besides, your auto policy determines the amount you can recover for the crash expenses. Your insurer will also consider your chosen policy limit. You can make an accident claim on your policy if a hit-and-run driver can’t be located.
It is best to consult your insurance provider to know the limits you should allow on your policy. Your insurer will help you to make the right decision and provide adequate protection against hit-and-run accidents. The collision coverage covers the repairs of a vehicle damaged in a collision. It could take care of the replacement of the vehicle that got damaged when it rolls over after a crash or collides with another object.
Even when you aren’t at fault, you will pay deductibles. If the other driver is identified, you may recover your deductibles from the person’s insurer. If you have uninsured vehicle coverage, you can recover medical expenses, car damages, and lost wages. However, this insurance type isn’t available in every state.
After a collision, responsible drivers assist people who got injured. They call emergency for medical assistance and exchange information. Then, they report the car crash to the police. However, don’t chase after a driver who took off after an accident. You may get into another collision or be accused of fleeing too.
Though the at-fault party fled the crash scene, you must stay and collect evidence to prove your innocence. Besides, you should seek financial compensation for your injuries and vehicle damage. It may be confusing to make your injury claim if the other party remains unidentified. A personal injury attorney can help you recover the medical costs from the accident and get a settlement for other damages.