Hit and Run Accident: What to Do Next?
Anytime you are involved in an automobile accident, it is wise to pull over to the shoulder, if possible, and exchange information with the other driver. But what if the other driver runs from the scene?
- Get a license plate number if you can.
- Call the police and report the incident, with the license number if you have it.
- Complete an accident report with the police, and include witnesses if available.
- Call your insurance company and report the accident.
If the police are not available to take a report, try to get written statements from witnesses with their names, addresses, and contact information. Take pictures of the scene. Write your own description of the events including a diary of calls to the police for assistance.
What not to do:
- Do not leave the scene to try to confront the other driver.
- Do not unnecessarily block traffic waiting for the police.
- Do not wait in your car in a travel lane; instead, go somewhere safe if possible.
Do not flee the scene of an accident yourself. Things will not get better.
Many people flee accidents for two reasons: they are either not properly licensed or insured. It is very important to keep proper insurance in force if you own or operate a car. If you don't, financial responsibility laws, like SR-22 or 44 filings, become mandated and expensive.
Proper insurance includes the uninsured motorist coverage so you are protected in cases of other drivers not being insured. The uninsured limits can be increased to match your liability limits. In some cases, drivers only carry state minimum limits, which can be very low. If your damages exceed the limits of their policy, your uninsured motorist limits become underinsured limits and pay you over the other drivers' insurance.
In many states, uninsured motorist coverage may help pay for your damages if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident or an accident with an uninsured individual. This special coverage can be added to most insurance policies and will pay your costs associated with the hit and run as though your uninsured motorist coverage was that driver's liability insurance.
There are several types of uninsured motorist coverage to choose from. The most common type pays for medical expenses — it is commonly referred to as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage or UMBI for short. Another type pays for damages to your vehicle — it is often called Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage or UMPD for short. As with all insurance coverage, the amount of protection that you get depends on your specific insurance policy and the limits of liability that you purchase.
Ask your agent about properly insuring against hit and run drivers. Raise your uninsured limits to match your liability limits. Protect yourself first, for as much as you're willing to protect others.
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