Experiencing a car accident is stressful enough, but when the driver who hit you takes off, it can be overwhelming. Most of us know the drill of what we should do when we find ourselves the victim of a crash, specifically, exchange pertinent information with the other driver. But when you are the victim of a hit and run accident, who will be responsible for your medical expenses and lost income from missed work as you recover from your injuries?
Our car accident attorneys can help you deal with a hit and run situation and discuss what legal options you may have. In the meantime, here are some steps you should take if you are a hit and run accident victim:
Get as much information as possible: You will likely be understandably shaken up, especially if you have been injured. However, when the other vehicle drives off, try to get as much information as possible. If you can see the license plate, you will want to write the number down. If you do not have a pen and paper, enter the information in your phone’s notes section. Note the color, make, and model of the vehicle he or she was driving and what direction they took off in.
Contact law enforcement: Call the police right away. They may be able to find the driver, especially if you have a good description of the vehicle. The police will also write up an accident report which your car accident attorney will be able to use as evidence in your claim. The more information you are able to provide to the police, the better the chances are they will locate the guilty driver.
Talk to witnesses: If there were any witnesses, see if they saw what happened. They may have seen something about the vehicle you didn’t. Make sure to take down all information any of the witnesses share with you. Also ask if they would be willing to provide you with their contact information. Your attorney may wish to speak with them.
Contact your insurance company: You will want to file a claim with your own insurance company. How and if your claim is paid will depend on whether the state you live in is a fault or no-fault state. If you live in a no-fault state, your insurance company is required to cover the losses that your injuries have caused you. If you live in a fault state, then your losses may only be covered if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Finding the Driver
If the police find the driver, there will likely be criminal charges filed against them because it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident. There are many reasons why a driver flees a crash. Some of the more common ones our car accident attorneys have seen include:
- They did not have the required vehicle insurance.
- They did not have a valid license.
- Their vehicle was not registered.
- They were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- They were committing a crime when the crash occurred.
A car accident attorney can be helpful when it comes to filing a car accident claim for your injuries. He or she can explain that even if there are criminal charges filed against the at-fault driver, you do not want to wait until that case has been adjudicated because there is a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims and lawsuits.
If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident, or any type of car crash, contact a car accident attorney Des Moines IA turns to for legal advice.
Thank you to Johnston & Martineau, PLLP for providing their insight and expertise on car accidents.