Dealing with a Hit and Run: As the Victim

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Involvement in a car accident is traumatic enough, without having to go thru the added complications of the person that hit you leaving the scene and you behind. Hit and runs are a frequent occurrence in today’s society and as a victim it can be a frustrating and daunting experience.

Get as Much Identification Information as Possible

You can substantially increase your chances of the perpetrator being identified if you can remember some pertinent information about the other driver, including:

  • the make, model, and color of their car
  • any identifying characteristics of the driver
  • the tag number or the partial tag number
  • which direction the car headed in, and
  • the names of any bystanders and any information that they might have.

Pursuit of the vehicle long enough to gather gotten sufficient identification information is a viable option if you are not injured.  However, under no circumstances, should you try to stop the fleeing vehicle.

Contact the Authorities

Call 911 from your cell phone or get any bystanders to place the call for you.  Notifying the police will allow them to present at the scene to gather as much information as possible and to begin the process of finding the person that left the scene.   Even though the adrenaline rush that accompanies an accident can delay the onset of pain, it is a good idea to seek medical attention immediately.  Also encourage any passengers in the car to seek medical attention as well.

Contact your Insurance Agent

As soon as you hang up with the police, your very next call should be to your insurance carrier.  Chances are the person that hit you won’t be found for a period of time.  Even if they are found, it is common for them to have no insurance or coverage that is insufficient to pay for the damages you’ve incurred.  Also, if you happen to have your digital camera on hand, take pictures of the accident scene and your car to assist your insurance company in resolving your claim.

Seeking Legal Advice

Even if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you should procure the services of an attorney to make sure that your rights are protected.  A licensed attorney in your area can walk you thru the filing of a claim process and even assist you in litigation against your insurance company if an issue arises. Don’t try to handle the situation alone; having an attorney by your side will increase your chances of recovering for your damages.