Every minute in the United States, someone is affected by a hit and run. A hit and run incident can occur if a car hits another moving car, parked car or person and flees the scene. After hitting another person, car or vacant vehicle, you are legally responsible for a few things before leaving the scene. Hit and run accidents on private property are slightly different than if it were to take place on a public road. First, the property owner might share fault if they neglected to provide proper safety warnings on their property that led to dangerous conditions. Second, if the property owner had security cameras, it could provide evidence to catch the perpetrator. Lastly, police officers are not able to write citations for other drivers on private property and do not always come to the scene if the situation isn’t serious.
What Are My Responsibilities Following an Accident?
If you collide with a parked car with no passengers, you are required to leave a note alerting the car owner of the accident. You must leave your name, address, license plate number and insurance information at the scene of the accident. If the collision resulted in anyone’s injury or damage to government-owned property, you must call the police and file a report. If there were no injuries and no serious damage, you are not required to involve police.
If you witness another person hit you or your car and sped off, there are a few key pieces of evidence that will greatly help your case if you’re able to gather them. If you have the ability to see the perpetrator before speeding off, take note of the make, model and color of their vehicle. Any evidence you can gather about the driver’s car will increase the likelihood the police will be able to identify and catch whoever hit your car and ran.
If someone else hit your car on private property and left the scene, contact the police as soon as you can. They will be able to document the event and possibly pull camera footage if there was any to identify the criminal. When you first see the damage done to your car, document as much as you can. Take down any notes about the scene and snap photos of all damage. Even if the police are not able to track down the at-fault driver, filing a police report can help with your insurance claim. Police do not have jurisdiction to write citations on private properties if there is an accident but they are able to document the incident reports which will add credibility to your hit-and-run claim. Just know that police officers aren’t always willing to come to a scene where there are no personal injuries because it’s considered minor.
After collecting evidence of the scene, contact your car insurance agent. You can provide your insurance agent with the police report and photo evidence from the scene. Your insurance agent can help determine if your coverage will cover the cost of the damages. Most often, you will be on the hook to pay your insurance collision deductible even though you are not at fault.
It can feel overwhelming if you or your car is hit on private property and you feel like the police aren’t able to assist you. You may feel like you won’t be able to catch the perpetrator and you might be stuck paying all of the damages. If you’ve been a victim of a hit-and-run accident, it’s recommended to contact a personal injury attorney before you speak with your insurance agent. An attorney will be able to guide you through the insurance claims process, gather all possible evidence and ensure you are able to recover as much compensation as possible.