I’ve Been Hit By A Car And They Drove Away – Now What?
Being involved in a car accident is never a good experience. Hopefully, the accident wasn’t serious enough that anyone was injured, but the shock and trauma can still stay with you (and any passengers) and leave you feeling a little bit less safe on the roads.
Add to this the burden of having to sort out car repairs and rental cars, as well as dealing with insurance, and you are looking at more than just a headache. But what makes an already bad situation worse?
When the other person, who actually caused the accident, decides to take off, it is called a hit and run, and sadly it happens all too often. Sometimes, the other driver is scared and doesn’t know how to deal with the situation. Maybe they don’t have insurance or just don’t want to pay. Whatever their reason, you don’t want to be left paying for damages that weren’t your fault.
That is why it is important to know not only the steps to take if you are involved in a hit and run but also how an attorney can assist you best.
How An Attorney Can Help When A Driver Hits Your Car And Drives Off
Knowing how best to proceed in any of these scenarios can be difficult, especially when still dealing with the trauma of being involved in a car accident. If in doubt, you should contact an attorney.
Pursuing an uninsured driver will probably involve filing a lawsuit, for which you will want the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Insurance companies, both those of the other driver and your own, can be unwilling to pay out on claims. You may have friends who have battled with their insurance providers to get full compensation due to minor contractual details. It can be useful to work with an attorney when making a claim, as unlike insurance companies, your best interests are their primary concern. An attorney can help ensure that you gain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
The attorneys here at Skaug Law can assist you in dealing with police insurance claims, auto repairs, possible medical bills, and potential civil cases. Contact us today; you will speak to one of our qualified attorneys on your first call.
What You Should Do After A Hit And Run: 5 Steps
It is common to wonder, “What can I do if a car hits me from behind and drove off”, “What are the next steps if someone hit my parked car and drove off?”, or “Someone damaged my car and drove off; now what?”
So, if you ever find yourself the victim of a hit and run accident, it is indeed difficult to know how best to respond in the moment. Whatever you do, don’t try to take matters into your own hands and chase down the driver. And don’t leave the scene of the accident yourself without completing a few important tasks.
In the immediate aftermath of a hit and run, follow these simple steps below to best resolve the situation:
1. Call 911 if someone has been injured due to the accident or if the road is blocked in such a way that further accidents seem likely. The health and safety of everyone at the scene should be the number one priority.
2. Note down the license plate number of the other driver or at least what you remember of it. Even a partial plate can help the police track down the perpetrator. If you didn’t see the license plate, make a note of everything you can remember about the other car, such as the make, model, color, as well as anything you can remember about the driver, if you saw them.
3. Speak to any witnesses that saw the accident or the driver, and take down their contact information (name, phone number, and driver’s license number if they have one) and details of anything they saw.
Witnesses may have seen things that you missed as they viewed the accident from a different angle. They also aren’t on the same emotional roller coaster you, so they may have a better memory and clearer idea of what exactly happened. Both the police and your insurance provider may wish to speak to them.
4. Record the details of the incident by taking pictures of your car and the surrounding area and by writing down as many details as possible while they are fresh in your memory, such as time, location, weather conditions, and details of the damage. You can give these details to the police when they arrive, though they may also wish to question you directly. Hold on to the details you record to share with your insurance provider as well.
5. Wait for the police. It is imperative that all hit and run accidents are reported to the police within 24 hours for insurance purposes. Whether you need to call 911 or a non-emergency number depends on the seriousness of the accident and the guidelines for where the accident happened. If in doubt, call 911.
Depending on the details that you provide, the police may ask you to wait at the scene or they may ask you to drive to another location, such as a Collision Reporting Center. If, when you report the accident, you are told that the damage is too minor to warrant a police report, make sure to take down the details of the police officer – name, badge number, and telephone number – so that your insurer can follow up with them if necessary.
Filing An Insurance Claim For A Hit And Run Accident
It is vital that you file an insurance claim as soon as possible after a car accident, as insurance providers have deadlines for filing claims. If you miss the deadline, you could miss out on your rightful compensation.
How you go about seeking compensation depends on whether the police found the driver and whether the driver has adequate insurance to cover the accident. In most states, the driver who caused the accident needs to cover the cost of all related damages. So, if the police were able to locate the driver and they have appropriate insurance, you can file a claim with their insurance provider.
However, one of the main reasons that hit and run drivers flee the scene is that they are not appropriately insured. If this is the case, you may still be able to pursue the driver individually to cover the costs of the accident that they caused.
If the police were unable to locate the driver, then you may be able to make a claim with your own insurance company, depending on the type of coverage that you have. For example, you may be covered for hit and run incidents by optional Collision Coverage. But if you opted out of this when taking your policy, you may find yourself needing to pay for the damage yourself.
Being involved in a hit and run accident can make a difficult situation worse as you don’t have recourse to claim compensation for the driver at fault in the accident in the normal way. But this does not mean that you are powerless to get help. The situation is made complicated by the fact that you do not have a guilty party to point to, which can make insurers reluctant to payout. For this reason, you can benefit from the support of a layer with specific experience in this field.
We have a team of experienced lawyers at your disposal. Contact us today and speak to a qualified lawyer on your first call. We never charge for initial consultations.