A hit-and-run is probably the most frustrating of all car accidents. You’re left with vehicle or property damage, and possibly injuries, and no real way to recoup your expenses as a result. On top of that, the at-fault driver often gets away with the crime. There are legal options available to you if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run.
What Qualifies as a Hit-and-Run?
In order to understand what your legal options are, you need to know what was illegal about the other driver leaving the scene. According to Page Law, a hit-and-run occurs when a driver injures or kills someone or damages someone else’s property and then leaves the scene without stopping and providing their driver license, insurance information, and contact information. If both of you stop, exchange information, and decide not to call the police, you cannot later claim it was a hit-and-run accident.
Track Down the Driver
To be clear, you should not chase after the person who hit you. This is incredibly dangerous. As soon as you can after the accident has happened, you should write down any and all details that you can recall about the other vehicle and/or its driver. Write down things like the make and model, color, the direction of travel, partial or full license plate number, and any distinguishing features. The police will use this information to track down the driver, but there have also been several success stories of social media helping locate a hit-and-run driver.
Contact Your Insurance
You can file a claim with your own insurance, using your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is exactly what this coverage is for. It will pay for your damages and injuries the same as if the other driver’s insurance was paying for them. Since you were not at fault, this should not increase your premiums, but your insurance company may want a copy of the police report, as they would with any other accident.
File a Personal Injury Claim
Hiring a lawyer may be your best option to help you pursue all your options. Even if the other driver is convicted of a hit-and-run, you will need a personal injury claim to receive compensation. Your lawyer can help you file the appropriate claims for your situation and receive the settlement that you need.
Just because the other driver left the scene of the accident doesn’t mean that you will be left high and dry. You do have options. Talk to your insurance agent and your lawyer to figure out what is best for you.