When you’re the victim of a car crash, it’s usually pretty simple to prove liability of the at-fault driver. Some common occurrences include:
- The car behind you rear ends your vehicle
- You are injured in a drunk driving accident
- A car scrapes your vehicle when refusing to signal when changing lanes
- A car runs a red light before hitting your vehicle
In these cases, you would file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, asking them to cover any financial consequences of the incident including medical bills, vehicle damages, etc. In more severe cases, you would file a personal injury claim, requesting a certain compensatory settlement. However, what happens if you don’t have any information on the at-fault driver? What happens if you were injured as a result of a hit-and-run?
First, you should identify if you accident qualifies as a hit-and-run. In most cases, these accident involve a driver that declines to stop after a collision, refuses to provide identification, or does not offer any assistance to injured parties. If the accident meets these qualifications, you should immediately report any details you remember to the police officer. Even if you did not get a license plate number, the following steps are often helpful.
- Report the color, make and model of the vehicle
- Ask any potential witnesses for identifying details
- Request security footage from businesses near the scene of the accident
- Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle
You should then contact your insurance provider and inform them you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Many policies will help to cover the costs of any medical bills, car repairs, necessary transportation and any other potential expenses that may arise after the accident. However, insurance policy contributions vary by state and while some waive deductibles for hit-and-run accidents, others will not cover the full extent of the damages.
This is why it is imperative to fill out a police report after the accident, giving the authorities any information that could possibly be helpful. They will attempt to find the individual responsible for the damages. This person would likely be charged with a felony or misdemeanor usually resulting in fines or even jail time. Additionally, once the person is found, you would be able to file a personal injury or civil lawsuit against them.
Therefore, if you are involved and at-fault for in any accident —even if you just nick a parked car—you should always either wait at the scene of the crime or leave identification. While your insurance policy will likely rise as a result of the crash, the consequences you would face if charged with a hit-and-run would be much more severe.