In 2015, it’s estimated that there were more than 737,000 hit and run accidents. Out of these crashes, there were more than 138,000 injuries and more than 1,800 fatalities.
Getting into an auto accident of any kind can be stressful and traumatic whether or not it has left you or your passengers injured. Even though we all have a duty to remain at the scene of accidents we’re involved in, unfortunately some people flee the scene.
What are you supposed to do if you’re involved in a hit and run accident?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit-and-run auto accident is when one involved party leaves the scene of the accident. This is true even if it is only a fender bender. The consequences for fleeing the scene of a crash depend on which state you live in, but they can include fines, license revocation, criminal charges, and even jail time.
There are a number of different reasons that a driver might flee an accident scene. These include:
- They do not have auto insurance coverage
- They do not own the vehicle that they are driving
- They are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- They are already breaking the law in a different form
Understanding how to react in a hit-and-run accident can help you protect yourself both financially and physically. People that leave the scene of an accident are choosing to do so even though they likely know that the consequences of this are steep.
Handling a Hit and Run Accident: What to Do
There are a number of basic steps you should take if you are involved in a car accident of any kind. If the other individual involved in the crash left the scene, it is your responsibility to document as much of the crash as you can. This will help you position yourself to protect yourself.
It is perfectly normal to feel stressed, afraid, and angry after an accident. During this time, it is important to try and stay calm. Staying calm can help you think and act in a clear-headed manner.
Don’t Leave and Check For Injuries
It is not in your best interest for you to try and chase down the vehicle that fled the scene. Instead, you should stay put. This can help you collect evidence and also help you avoid being charged with fleeing the scene.
Depending on the laws in your area, you might want to move your car to a safe spot off the road. Then, it’s important to determine whether you or anyone else was injured right away. If anyone has been hurt, you’ll want to call for emergency medical assistance.
If you or someone else has been injured, you might consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help recover the damages you’ve incurred.
Remember and Record
Right anyway you will want to try and remember as many specific details as you can. This includes the license plate number of the other party as well as the make and model of their car. Write this information down, as it is easy to quickly forget in all the chaos.
Look For Witnesses
Once you know that you and everyone else is safe, look around to see if there are any witnesses. If you find witnesses, ask them for their names and their contact information. This can help you build a case when you are talking to the police.
Call the Police
Next, you will want to dial 911 if you haven’t already done so. In some states, you are required to call the police even if no one has been hurt. When the police show up, they will file an accident report and they will help investigate the incident.
Take Photos and Video
Taking pictures of the accident will serve as important evidence. Try to take photos from a number of different angles, including both close-ups of damage and pictures of the whole car. If any paint has been left on your vehicle from the other car, be sure to take pictures of that too.
Contact Your Insurance
After any type of car accident, you will want to call your insurance agent if you are interested in filing a claim. They can help you file a claim and walk you through the next steps.
Does Insurance Cover a Hit and Run Auto Accident?
Unfortunately, many hit-and-run drivers are never identified. If you are able to remember any identifying features of their vehicle or the individual, this can help in a police investigation. However, if the person who left the scene cannot be identified, then their liability coverage can’t be used to help pay for the damage.
Whether or not your insurance will cover the accident depends on your policy.
If you have uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage, this can help to replace or repair your vehicle if you were involved in an accident with little to no insurance. It also means that these costs can be covered in a hit-and-run. Not all states offer this type of coverage, though, while in other states this type of coverage is mandatory.
Collision coverage can also help cover the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle in a hit-and-run. You will typically have to pay a deductible using this type of coverage.
You will also want to look to see if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury protection. This can help to pay for the medical expenses you or your passengers incurred in a hit-and-run accident or when the other driver has little to no insurance.
Have You Been Involved in a Hit-and-Run and Are Looking For a Car Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, hiring a car accident attorney can help you recover the damages you deserve. An attorney can help you piece together the evidence you have gathered to build your case.
Are you looking for a personal injury attorney to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries? If so, contact us today!