What to Do if You Are the Victim of a Hit-and-Run

A damage blue car stranded on the side of the road after a hit-and-run accidentBecoming the victim of a hit-and-run accident can leave one feeling stranded and helpless, and although there is rarely an excuse for such actions, they still occur, even if the offender is potentially facing felony charges as a result. Since such offenders have no intention of sticking around after an accident to forfeit their details, it’s important you understand what to do if you are the victim of a hit-and-run.

Record the Details of the Accident

Don’t try to commit all the details of the accident to memory. Make sure you’ve created a car accident checklist. There is a lot that transpires during an accident, and you won’t be in the right mindset to remember everything.

Write Down Details of the Offender’s Car

Mere seconds have likely passed before the driver at fault has driven away, but even the smallest details can be useful when reporting the crime. Writing down any of the following details can be helpful:

  • License plate number (full or partial)
  • Make and model of the car
  • Color of the vehicle
  • Distinguishing characteristics, such as bumper stickers, modifications, or damage

Gather Information from Witnesses

Nearby witnesses likely had a better view of the accident and can recall the events more clearly. Ask them to relay their account of the accident and write down all the details, and don’t forget to ask them for their name and contact information.

Take Photographs

A picture’s worth a thousand words. Don’t fall victim to avoidable mistakes after an accident. Use your cellphone to take pictures or a recording of the scene. Ensure you capture all damage to your vehicle and any injuries you or passengers may have suffered.

Enlist the Help of Emergency Services

Regardless if the offender’s escape is intentional or a ramification of distracted driving, a hit-and-run is a felony unless the driver is responding to a medical emergency, so it is important you reach out to authorities to ensure the crime scene is handled appropriately.

Call the Police

When the police arrive, inform them of the events that transpired before, during, and immediately following the accident. Share all the information you have, including all that you’ve recorded before their arrival, such as the details of the offender’s car and witness information. The police report will be an essential part of reporting a hit-and-run insurance claim and assigning legal liability for any subsequent personal injury case.

Seek Medical Care

If your injuries are severe, you’ll likely be called an ambulance. However, some minor injuries can evolve into life-threatening or lead to long-term complications. Undergoing a medical evaluation by a professional will rule out concerning injuries or underlying trauma, and you’ll be provided documentation of your injuries that can be used to supplement your hit-and-run insurance claim and any lawsuits.

File an Insurance Claim

File a claim with your insurance provider as soon as possible, as some providers have deadlines for accident claims, and if you’re too late, they may not process the claim. It’s important to know that you’ll likely be covered if your auto policy contains the following:

  • Collision Coverage: This covers all accidents, including hit-and-runs.
  • Personal Injury Protection: This helps pay for medical bills and lost wages if you can’t work.
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: This covers medical bills and lost wages if you’re hit by a driver without insurance or, in this case, if the offender has fled the scene.

Fortunately for those residing in Massachusetts, these coverages are required by law.

Understanding what to do if you are a victim of a hit-and-run can be the difference between getting the most out of your medical and financial safety nets and having to drain your savings account. To ensure you’re not financially impacted by the negligence of another, educate yourself on safe driving techniques and make sure you’re outfitted with the right auto insurance. At TJ Woods Insurance, we have years of experience pairing our clients with the coverage that works best for them. Contact us today to see how well you can be protected.