What To Do If You Are Involved In a Hit and Run AccidentPosted on: September 19, 2020
Getting hit by another driver is bad enough. It’s even worse when the at-fault driver flees the scene before you can collect any of their information. You’re anxious, your adrenaline is flowing, your car is damaged, and you might even be injured.
There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of and all of them seem urgent. What do you do next?
There are few things more frustrating than a hit and run accident. Most licensed drivers know what to do after a car crash: you both pull over to a safe spot, exchange insurance information, and report the accident to your respective insurance carriers.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
If a driver doesn’t carry enough insurance, is driving without a license, or has too many traffic violations on their record, they may simply drive away instead of following proper roadside etiquette.
What should you do if this happens to you?
Call the Police
The first thing that you need to do after a hit and run accident is to call the police and report it. This is a crucial step for many reasons.
Firstly, the police may be able to assist in finding the vehicle that caused the crash. If you have significant identifying characteristics of the vehicle (or better yet, a tag number), the police can use this information to look for a vehicle matching your description.
For example, the police will look for a vehicle with damage that is consistent with the damage caused to your vehicle. If you believe that there is paint transfer in the crash, the police may be able to find the other vehicle with your paint on the area of damage.
Secondly, reporting the accident to the police in a timely manner creates a paper trail that will be helpful when you notify your insurance company.
When another vehicle leaves the scene, insurers tend to be skeptical about your claim. They are even more skeptical if there was no contact between the two vehicles (e.g. if another vehicle ran you off the road and you crashed into a stop sign).
Further, many insurance carriers require you to report a hit and run within 24 hours of the accident. If you miss this time frame, your claim may be denied.
After you have called the police, notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
When an at-fault driver leaves the scene of an accident, they typically take much of the evidence with them. However, there is a chance that they may have left other pieces of information behind. This evidence can play a huge role in your case.
If the impact caused the other vehicle to leave any debris in the road, make sure you acquire the debris. A bumper with an attached license plate will be invaluable, but other pieces of the car can help the police as well.
Once you have stopped and called the police and are at a point of safety, you should get out of your vehicle. This may alert other drivers who may have witnessed the crash to come and assist you.
Ask all the other witnesses what they saw in the crash and see if they can help identify the at fault vehicle. If not, ask for the witness information in the event that the officer does not capture it.
Who Pays For My Car Repairs After a Hit and Run Accident?
In a “traditional” car accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for vehicle repairs from the at-fault driver (or, more appropriately, their insurance company). But what happens if you don’t know the name of the person who hit you?
After a hit and run, your best option is to have the vehicle repaired through your own insurance policy. By filing a police report, you will have created documentation of the accident and the fact that the other driver did not remain at the scene supports your claim that you were not at-fault.
If the other vehicle is later identified, your own insurer can be compensated from the other insurer for any payments that were made to repair your vehicle.
Who Pays For My Medical Treatment After a Hit and Run?
Florida is one of several “No Fault” states. This means that, after an accident, each driver will turn to their own auto insurance policy for any medical treatment that may be needed.
You will use your Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, benefits to do this. Under Florida law, all registered drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP on their insurance policy. However, many drivers only have the minimum amount of coverage and are blindsided when serious injuries exceed their policy limits. In cases like these, having an auto accident attorney can prove invaluable.
Hire an Attorney
Another thing you should consider doing is retaining an attorney to assist you in the process.
At Beers & Gordon, we have handled hundreds of hit and run accident cases. Because of this experience, our attorneys and staff can potentially assist in the investigation of the crash. In addition to gathering evidence to present to your insurance company, we can provide advice on how to proceed with your claim while ensuring that your interests are protected.
Additionally, the insurer may want to take a recorded statement of you, especially if they are skeptical of your story. This is where an attorney can make all the difference.
Some insurance representatives can be tricky with the wording of their questions. Their goal is to cause confusion so that you say “the wrong thing” without knowing it. Meeting with an attorney and having them be present during the statement is the best way to prepare you for their questions and keep your rights protected.
Being involved in any accident can leave you feel confused, jittery, and overwhelmed. But when that accident is a hit and run, you may feel like you are dealing with more than you can handle.
In times like these, it’s especially important that you have trusted guidance and advice from an expert in the industry, like those at Beers & Gordon, P.A.
Our attorneys have previous experience working on behalf of insurance companies; our experience there has helped hundreds of clients just like you receive the compensation they deserve following a car accident.
At Beers & Gordon, your case will be handled by an attorney (not a caseworker or paralegal) and there is no fee unless we win.