In virtually all states when a vehicle accident occurs certain procedures are outlined by law for those involved in the accident to follow. Protocols can differ based on the extent of an injury to an accident victim. Injuries can include property only (i.e., damage to the car), an injury to a person or passenger, or a death. A driver is required to stop their vehicle and exchange any relevant contact information. When the accident involves a driver hitting a stationary car or object, the driver is required to put forth reasonable effort to identify the owner of the property. A hit and run, by contrast, involves a driver who fails to follow those mandated procedures and leaves the scene of an accident, in which they were involved, before all relevant information can be exchanged or before the police arrive. If a hit and run driver leaves and injury or death scene, the hit and run can become a felony.
Why do hit and run accidents occur?
The reasons drivers engage in hit and run are varied. The most common reason for these accidents is the lack of insurance of the driver that caused the accident. A scary statistic is that thirty percent of drivers on the road do not have auto insurance. Many of those have cancelled or let insurance lapse once they have a vehicle. Some have no license or insurance and drive completely off the grid.
What to do in a hit and run incident?
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident there are several steps to take:
- Try to get as much information as you can about the person who hit you. See if there are witnesses and try to identify the car, including make, model, color, and license plate. Do not try to chase down the driver.
- Contact the police. Many insurance companies require you to file a police report about the incident in order to collect. Take pictures and document any damage that you have and make sure it is in the police report.
- File a claim with your insurance. Try to get as much coverage as you can afford before having to deal with something like a hit and run. You can only recover from a hit and run if you have collision or under/uninsured motorist coverage.
- Contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to navigate through the process for you saving you time and headaches.
- Seek medical care if you have been injured. Getting medical care immediately and continuing with care until you are better will ensure that you recover what you deserve for damages.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in an accident involving a hit and run please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.