What To Do When Involved in a Hit and Run Accident

Did you or a loved one ever get into an accident? Then you know it can be pretty frustrating to be at the mercy of others, especially when dealing with insurance companies. It can be even more frustrating if someone hits you and leaves the scene.
What To Do When Involved in a Hit and Run Accident
9 September 2022

Sadly, hit-and-run accidents are the scourge of urban areas, and the numbers have risen over the past couple of years. The police are called, insurance companies are contacted, and adrenaline runs through the air. So, how do you know the best course of action at that moment?

The moments after a hit-and-run accident can be confusing and scary. If you don't know what to do, it could cost you more money, time, and stress than you can imagine. But you're not alone. When you find yourself in a hit-and-run accident, there are a few steps you should take right away. 

Who Is Liable In a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Naturally, the irresponsible driver is obviously at fault. The fact that the other driver fled the scene makes your collision a hit and run and makes the fleeing driver liable for any damages. However, it's usually difficult or impossible to locate the faulting driver. 

Every state has different rules that determine what happens in this situation. In some states, uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory for every driver. In this case, hit-and-run accidents are handled like accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists. Your insurance will cover the costs that the "John Doe" driver should've covered. 

Even when the other motorist is unknown, it is occasionally necessary to file a lawsuit to obtain total compensation for your claim. While your insurance company is required to cover you, the process is not automatic. You still have to prove that the accident wasn't a result of your negligence. They will want to ensure that you were indeed the victim, even if you were a motorcyclist. 

Steps To Take Following a Hit-and-Run

There are some steps to take immediately after a hit-and-run accident. Every second counts, and wasting time could complicate the situation. Here's what to do in the event of a hit-and-run accident.

1. Ensure Your Safety

First, make sure neither you nor any other passengers have any wounds. Before doing anything else, dial 911 if someone is hurt. You'll need an ambulance if you or anyone else gets hurt. Try your best to stay calm to make the best decisions quickly. 

2. Note Important Details

Record the license plate number of the hit-and-run car or snap a picture if possible. It's crucial to have written documentation so you aren't solely relying on recollection. You may need a vivid description of the other driver when the authorities arrive. But it's okay if you can't catch their face. Ask any nearby witnesses if they would be willing to speak with the authorities and get their contact information.

3. Call The Cops

We understand it may be difficult to react if you're confused or in shock—no pressure, but the sooner, the better. Call the cops and make a police report. Inform the authorities about the situation and let them know it was a hit-and-run. In some states, those who have been hit and run must file a report within 24 hours. You may not be thoroughly familiar with the laws of your state. That's why you must get legal help asap. 

4. Contact Your Insurance Company 

Immediately you're done with the authorities, contact your insurance company. It's easier to remember the details on the same day. If you can, try to submit a claim on the same day. If you wait too long, you may leave out essential details. 

5. Speak To A Car Accident Attorney 

Don't assume you can handle the insurance company alone. Speaking to a legal professional before contacting your insurance provider is best. A legal expert will give you helpful advice and help you with the following steps.

Insurance Effects Following a Hit-and-Run

Your insurance policy may pay the bill after a hit-and-run if you have adequate coverage. However, the coverage you have access to and how your policy responds to a hit-and-run vary by state and insurance provider.

In most states, every motorist must have liability insurance to pay for any harm they may do to other persons. However, you can be responsible for covering the costs of your car's damages if the at-fault motorist flees the scene or doesn't have insurance.

You can benefit from having collision coverage and medical costs coverage in this circumstance. In California, this is called Medical Payment coverage. Your car's damage is covered by collision insurance, and medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident are covered by medical insurance, that is if you have these coverages.

Filing A Hit and Run Claim

You can still get total compensation even if the other driver never gets identified. But you or whoever was injured must file a claim with their auto insurance instead of suing the at-fault driver's auto insurance.

A hit-and-run claim is described as an "uninsured motorist claim" because the law deems it illegal for an unidentified driver to have car insurance. However, the unknown driver still owes money. If they get discovered, the insurance provider may bring legal action against them for any compensation awarded to the victim due to the claim.

The Next Step

If you've been involved in a hit-and-run accident, you must understand your rights as an accident victim. To protect your legal rights, you must file a personal injury claim, seek medical treatment, and contact an experienced attorney to represent your best interests. 

It's crucial to consult a lawyer as soon as you can to make sure you don't give up any rights to financial compensation for your injuries. The legal practitioners at Bojat Law Group, APC, have years of combined expertise handling personal injury cases. Schedule a call with us to turn your situation around. 

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