State laws require that all drivers and vehicles involved in an accident remain at the scene until those involved can exchange contact information or the police arrive, especially if injuries are involved. But what happens when the other driver flees the scene of the accident?
Typically there are two kinds of vehicular hit and run accidents-a driver hits your vehicle with theirs and leaves the scene or hits your unattended car and drives off without leaving contact or insurance information.
Keep these tips in mind for a faster resolution to your hit and run claim:
1. Safety first-A car accident is incredibly stressful, but it's important to try to keep your cool. Your first instinct might be to go after the other driver, but this can lead to a dangerous car chase or potential violence. Call the police and let the professionals handle the situation. If you're able, make sure the other drivers and passengers are safe and that you call 911 if there are any injuries.
2. Gather as much information as possible-Write down the make, model and license plate of the other car, if possible, and the time and location. Also helpful are pictures of the accident scene and of your own car's damage.
3. File a police report-Your odds of building a successful hit and run claim and finding the person who hit you depend on the quality of information you can provide. Provide the police with contact information for any witnesses who may be able to provide additional details about the incident. The authorities may never find the person who hit you, but their report is invaluable to ensuring your claim is processed quickly and accurately.
4. Filing a hit and run claim-If you can identify who hit you, you can easily submit a claim directly to the driver's insurance company. If you can't identify the other driver, you can file a claim with your own insurance carrier, especially if you have uninsured motorist coverage, which helps cover the cost of medical care and lost wages.
5. Issues with unattended vehicles-If a parked car or other stationary property is damaged, many states have laws which require the driver to make a reasonable effort to inform the property owner of the accident. If the other driver did not provide any information, you'll need to get creative about discovering evidence that can help you with your claim. Were there witnesses? Are there surveillance cameras at the scene? Use whatever resources you can to provide as much information as possible to your insurance carrier.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a vehicular hit and run accident? Contact an experienced auto accident lawyer who can help you protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.