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You are suddenly hit by a car when you least expect it. Then, the driver flees the scene. So, what are you to do? You’ve just become the victim of a hit-and-run. And you’re not alone: 13 percent of all collisions are hit-and-run accidents. If you’re wondering what to do if someone hits your car and leaves the scene, take heart because this article will walk you through exactly what to do, whether you’re driving or you discover that your parked car has been hit.
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What To Do If Someone Hits Your Car And Flees Immediately From The Scene
Whether you’re in the car at the time of the hit-and-run or you discover it upon your return, know that you must remain at the scene until the particulars are handled. Also, don’t move your car from the place it was hit if your car was parked in a safe place.
Get Medical Assistance, If Needed
Make sure you get seen by paramedics, even if you weren’t seriously hurt. This will ensure that if the police find the driver, or you file a claim with your insurance, a medical record is established for your claim.
Obtain A Police Report
If someone hits your car and flees, call a police officer to the scene. First, they’ll complete a police report detailing the damage. They’ll also speak to you and any witnesses while at the scene. Be prepared to give as much information as possible to the responding officer.
If you’re able to describe either the driver or the make and model of the vehicle that hit you, or if you happen to have seen the car’s license plate number, share that information with the police. Make sure you write down the officer’s name and badge number so the report will be easier to locate once it’s ready.
If the police are unable to come to the scene, you can file a report at the police station or online at the police department’s website after the incident.
Check For Security Cameras Or Witnesses
If your car was parked on a public street, in a garage, or in a parking lot, chances are there was a security camera nearby. Video footage could help identify the runaway driver or the car that was involved in the hit-and-run incident. It might help to ask nearby businesses about the camera locations, even if no cameras are readily visible. Also, remember to ask for the names and contact information of the witnesses who saw the accident occur or who could identify the runaway driver.
Write Down The Details And Take Photos
Take notes on the time and place that the accident occurred, weather conditions, how long your car was parked, or where you were heading at the time. Also, take photos of the damage, the scene in general, and location for claim purposes. If possible, use your phone to make a video, which can help bolster your claim with your insurance company.
Call Your Insurer
Inform your insurance company once you have spoken with the officer. This will better ensure that your claim can be processed in accordance with your policy coverages. Also, keep in mind that your insurance policy may require you to report the incident, regardless of who is at fault.
Never Give Chase
The victim in a hit-and-run should remain at the scene. Do not be tempted to chase or detain the other driver, which could result in unpredictable or even dangerous consequences.
Inspect Your Vehicle To Assess Damages
It is critical to assess the full extent of the damages because you never know what exactly has occurred until you have an expert repair person check under the hood.
What To Do If Someone Hits Your Car And They Leave A Note
If the other driver left a note on your car with their contact details and insurance information, contact their insurance provider to report the damage. Call the at-fault driver to obtain insurance details if they didn’t leave them on the note. Also, look for witnesses to see if they can help you with your claim against the driver.
Should You Call The Police Or Handle It Privately?
Nothing is more frustrating than returning to your car to find a dent or a scratch. You might consider shopping around at local body shops and asking the driver if they want to pay out of pocket if the damages are minimal. Remember to ask the repair technician if there could be any unforeseen damages related to this accident.
Know that your insurance company will not pay for any future car damages related to this accident if you decide to go this route. Going directly to the driver’s insurance provider might be more advantageous if the damages are more extensive or you want to cover yourself in case of associated repairs in the future.
Will Insurance Cover Injury Or Damage?
- The at-fault driver’s Insurance: The other driver’s insurance company has to determine whether their driver was actually at fault, and it will likely take longer than if you had an out-of-pocket settlement with the driver or filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Your own insurance: You will likely be covered by your insurance if you have collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage insurance.
Do I Have To Pay My Deductible?
A collision coverage payout may come faster, but you’ll likely have to pay your deductible to activate the payment. An uninsured motorist property damage claim, although less common, carries with it a lower deductible. However, an uninsured motorist bodily damage claim usually does not carry a deductible.
Does My Insurance Premium Increase?
Unfortunately, with a collision or uninsured motorist property damage claim (regardless of who was at fault), your insurance premium will likely increase upon renewal.
Consequences Of Leaving The Scene As A “Phantom” Driver
If you happen to be what insurance calls the “phantom vehicle,” or the unidentified car that committed the hit-and-run, this is ordinarily a crime with some severe legal fallout, depending on whether anyone was seriously injured or died. The consequences could include suspension of the at-fault driver’s drivers’ license, stiff monetary penalties, or jail time.
Unsure About What To Do If Someone Hits Your Car And Leaves The Scene? Consult An Expert Today
Consider speaking with a professional if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Know your rights and what you could be entitled to today.
Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.