Car accidents are already traumatic enough. Now add a hit-and-run to the mix, it will leave you feeling completely distressed. Even if the experience is overwhelming, how you handle a hit-and-run is critical in your physical and financial recovery. Before you panic at the scene of an accident after being the victim of a hit-and-run, here are some pointers to help you to navigate better.
When a driver who caused the accident flees the scene of an accident, it is considered a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges, fines, suspension of your driver’s license, or even jail time, depending on your state of residence. Despite the severe consequences, there are a variety of reasons why a driver may decide to flee:
- They are uninsured for their vehicles.
- They’re the outlaws.
- They’re under the influence of narcotics or alcohol.
- It was a rental car, and the driver does not own it.
How to handle a hit-and-run
Get back to your senses and stay put
Anger, fear, and anxiety will kick in after witnessing a collision. It is normal to feel that way. But staying in that state can get things out of hand in a jiffy. It’s all about how you handle a hit-and-run.
Take some deep breaths and get back to your senses first. Then think and act with a clear mind. Never attempt to flee the scene of the accident or track down the at-fault party.
Staying put can save you time and money by allowing you to gather evidence without risking your own arrest. Check to see if you or any of your passengers require medical attention after you’ve safely moved your car off the road. Call 911 immediately if you need assistance.
Get the specifics
Make an effort to recall as many specifics as possible, such as the vehicle’s make and model and its license plate number. Any information you can provide to law enforcement or your insurance company can be helpful in determining who was responsible for the collision.
Any kind of accident usually garners public attention. After you’ve made it to a safe location, check to see if anyone else witnessed the incident. If you can, get their names and phone numbers. The police will have a better understanding if you have this information.
Call the local police
Inform the police. And wait for them to arrive at the scene. Depending on the state, you may have to call the police after a car accident. To assist with the investigation, the authorities will keep a record of the incident.
While you’re figuring out the details, photos of the damage can serve as visual proof. Photograph the vehicle from a variety of angles, including close-ups of any dings or scratches. Take pictures of the paint splatters left behind by the other vehicle, too.
Seek medical attention
If you happen to be at the scene of the accident, chances are you might have some injury. You may still need medical attention, even if you don’t notice any injuries at first. A medical professional will examine the injury.
Speak to your insurance provider
The next important thing you should do after a car accident is to call your insurance agent. Discuss and find out what your next steps should be. It’s their job to show you the nitty-gritty of the claim process.
Does insurance cover a hit and run?
In the event of a hit and run, some of the costs may be covered by your auto insurance policy. It’s important to keep in mind that insurance policies vary from state to state. In addition, your deductible applies.
Collision insurance coverage
Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car in the case of damages. Consequently, even if the other driver is never located, you may be able to file an insurance claim if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a deductible, which is a fixed amount that is included in your insurance policy. The other driver’s insurance company may be able to reimburse your deductible if they are found.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
If the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance or the driver’s identity is unknown, uninsured motorist coverage can help cover your medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle (depending on your state’s laws). In some states, this coverage isn’t available at all. According to the Insurance Information Institute, hit-and-run accidents aren’t always covered in states where coverage is available.
What to do if someone claims you hit their car?
Request for the police report and check
Contact the traffic division of your local police department if you do not have a copy of your accident report. The officer’s take on the incident should be included in the report. After gathering all the facts, interviewing drivers and witnesses, and inspecting the scene, this report gets prepared. This report is crucial while handling a hit-and-run. Use this report to cross-check and inform if you are not at fault.
Check state traffic laws
You can also use state traffic laws to help you determine who is at fault. You can look up relevant sections of the Vehicle Code in the index. The statute number and exact wording of the rule that applies to your accident should be copied. When negotiating a claim with your insurance company, you can refer to this ruling.
See if there are any security cameras around the area where the accident occurred. Find out if there were any witnesses or dashcam footage from that time period. Ask around. The other driver’s claim can be disproved if only one person can corroborate your version of events.
What to do when a car is hit from behind?
Regardless of why you slowed down, the driver behind you is almost always to blame if you’re hit from behind. Rear-seat passengers should be able to stop safely even when you come to a complete halt in the middle of a freeway. If the other driver didn’t leave enough space, then that driver is being negligent in this situation.
Let’s say that someone claims that you rear-ended them at an intersection. Rather than swerving to avoid you, the other driver was texting and slammed into the back of your vehicle. In this case, the insurance company should be on your side and assign the blame to the driver in the back of the vehicle. This is a rear-end collision. It is always advised to handle a hit-and-run by gathering relevant evidence.
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