A simple car accident can be a stressful experience, but if the other driver sped off without stopping, it can outright ruin your day. Without the information of the other driver, you may be left without a proper avenue for an insurance claim – and you may not have the ability to file other charges against the at-fault driver.
Fortunately, in these circumstances, you may have other solutions that can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
The procedure immediately following a hit-and-run accident can vary depending on the type of accident.
• If the hit-and-run involved two driving vehicles, the procedure remains largely similar to that of a standard motor vehicle accident: pull over to a safe part of the road, call 911 for medical attention and police presence, and file a police report.
• If the hit-and-run involved a pedestrian and another vehicle, it’s incredibly important to call 911 first to seek emergency medical care for your injuries – and to have police on scene to help gather evidence of your hit-and-run.
• If the hit-and-run involved your parked car and another vehicle, calling 911 may not be an appropriate response. Document any damage and take notes of when and where it was taken. Your insurance company can usually compensate you for these types of claims. If the damage is major and you are seeking to file a civil suit with whomever is responsible, you may be able to gather additional evidence in the form of witness reports, security footage, etc.
The most important thing to do after every hit-and-run accident is the contact the proper authorities. A police officer on the scene can file a police report – a valuable piece of evidence indicating the accident was not your fault. Additionally, they may be able to gather additional evidence that may help in finding the at-fault driver. For example, those who drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol may have committed multiple hit-and-runs within the same neighborhood or street – leaving a significant amount of evidence for the police to help find the suspect.
How Can I Be Compensated for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Most of the time, compensation for a hit-and-run accident comes in the form of a claim to your own insurance provider. Those who have been the victim of a hit-and-run can typically be reimbursed for their damages by their own policy – depending on the type of policy they signed up for.
• Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can cover any damages caused by a hit-and-run driver. However, in most states it is optional coverage – including Pennsylvania.
• Collision coverage can also pay for any damages to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. However, most collision coverage policies come with a deductible before the coverage kicks in.
• If you were seriously injured in a hit-and-run, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can help cover any medical bills incurred, regardless of fault.
Consult your personal insurance policy to see what is and isn’t covered and act accordingly.
Additionally, if major damages are involved, it may be prudent to pursue the at-fault driver for the maximum possible compensation. However, this can often be a difficult process, as tracking down the at-fault driver can be complicated, long-winded task. In these cases, it’s often recommended to consult an attorney first to determine the right course of action for your case.
Hit-and-Run Accidents Are Not Hopeless
Hit-and-run accidents are definitely scary, leading to pain, stress, and frustration for an extended period of time. However, they are not insurmountable, as long as you stay calm and gather as much information as possible about the accident. Although finding the at-fault driver may not be realistic, it is still very possible to receive the compensation you are entitled to without the at-fault party in the picture.