What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Hit-And-Run
More than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads, according to a 2018 study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. That means at least one hit-and-run crash will occur somewhere in the United States by the time you are done reading this post all the way through.
With hit-and-run accidents steadily growing, it helps to know what to do if you are ever a victim of a hit-and-run.
Other interesting facts from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study:
In the last decade, there as been an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes (per year)
Hit-and-Run deaths have increased by an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009
The highest number of fatalities that resulted from hit-and-run crashes was recorded in 2016: 2,049
#1: Pull Over Safely
First thing you will want to do if you are a victim of a hit-and-run is pull over to the side of the road.
Do not attempt to chase or apprehend the culprit. You would be surprised at what your emotions and adrenaline may cause you to do following an accident.
Remember: Attempting to chase the culprit can (and most likely will) make the situation exponentially worse.
#2: Call The Police Immediately
Next, get out a cell phone and call the police immediately.
Failing to contact the police, even if you don’t have description or license plate number of the vehicle that hit you, can result in your insurance company dragging out the claims process – or denying it altogether.
Part of our job as an insurance agency is to be your advocate in situations like this. Whether that means speeding up the process, or helping you with questions you may have during the claims process.
It is also important to call the police immediately even if all of the parties involved have not fled the scene of the crime. An especially nasty type of a hit-and-run can occur where the culprit provides false or fabricated information before leaving. Later, when your insurance company attempts to contact theirs you find out that all the information was fake. In the end, you end up paying for all the repairs and damages yourself.
Remember: Just because the individual did not flee immediately does not mean that you cannot be a victim.
#3: Gather Evidence
Next, you will want to gather evidence for your insurance company.
This means taking clear, high quality, pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the area where the accident occurred. It is also a good idea to document exactly what happened immediately after. You can do this by writing down on a piece of paper, your phone, or even voice recording. The most important piece of evidence to gather during all of this is the culprit’s license place. This will make the entire claims process a lot more smoother and will increase your chances of your deductible being reimbursed.
#4: Look for Witnesses
You may also want to consider looking for witnesses. It is always a good idea to write down stories and contract information of those that can corroborate your story.
If a witness wrote down the license plate number of the person who hit your car this will also help with filling a police report and submitting the plate number to your insurer.
#5: Contact Your Insurance Company
Finally, after the urgent matters have been handled (police report, documentation, etc.) you will want to file a claim with your insurance company.
Hit-and-Run Coverage: To have damage from a hit-and-run covered, you will need to have either uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) or collision coverage.