Car accidents are scary enough, but when one of the parties flees the scene, things can become even more stressful. In all 50 states leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Most culprits flee because they do not have a valid driver’s license or insurance policy, Here’s what to do at a hit and run.
Stay at the Scene
If you need to move your vehicle out of traffic, go ahead, but make sure to stay at the scene. DO NOT try to chase down the culprit. If you leave the scene yourself, you could be held legally culpable. Plus, chasing down the person who struck you could be potentially dangerous.
Call The Police
Always call the police if there has been a hit and run. Plus, creating a police report about the incident will be crucial to filing a claim with your insurance company.
Even though the person and vehicle are no longer on the scene, immediately gather as much of the following information as possible, including:
- The license plate number
- The make/model/color of car
- The direction in which the driver took off
- The time and location of the accident
- A physical description of the person
- Pictures of the damage done to your car
Search for Witnesses
This can include a wide range of people, including, people who saw the accident occur, people involved in the accident, and responders to the scene. Ask the witness if they are willing to provide a statement to the police. Also keep an eye out for traffic cameras or security cameras at buildings nearby that may have captured the incident.
Contact your auto insurance company.
Every insurance policy is different, and yours may not cover hit and run incidents. To avoid being financially responsible for an accident you did not cause, make sure your auto insurance policy has at least one of the following coverages:
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: this can help provide coverage for any injury caused by an uninsured, negligent driver. In the case of a hit and run, the negligent driver is unknown and therefore uninsured.
- Collision Coverage: this can help cover the cost of repairing/replacing the damage to your car
Seek Medical Attention
Regardless of whether you think you need it or not, you should seek immediate medical attention and monitor your physical and mental health. In the aftermath of a car accident, some injuries are not always immediately apparent. In fact, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks for serious car crash-related injuries to manifest.