Jun. 4—When you find yourself the victim of the hit-and-run car accident for the first time, you may not know the best course of action to take.
What makes it a hit-and-run ?
NOLO Legal Encyclopedia states the term "hit-and-run " relates to the aftermath of a car accident rather than the events of the accident itself. The typical elements of a hit-and-run are that a driver involved in the accident failed to stop at the scene, provide their personal identification to the other party or help a person injured due to the accident.
According to a 2018 article released by the
Additionally, hit-and-run deaths in
According to Ammons, a total of 352 accidents in the
Of the 74 leaving-the-scene incidents, three are still being actively investigated ; 19 were reported as evidence for victims' insurance companies ; one arrest has been made ; three citations have been written and 38 of them have been closed due to a lack of leads.
What not to do According to
Ammons also advises against the victim in a leaving-the-scene incident trying to chase down the perpetrator and potentially immersing themselves in an even more dangerous or "road rage " situation.
"You're better off to say, 'This is the car that struck me, this is what I can remember of it, ' and call your local police department, " he said.
What to do Victims should immediately contact law enforcement to file a police report or their automobile insurance company to file an accident claim. These reports will aid law enforcement in finding the perpetrator and are integral in filing a claim.
Ammons said this is particularly important and that parties involved in vehicle accidents are always supposed to contact their insurance companies.
"One common misconception we all have is that, if someone gives you their insurance information, you cannot call that insurance company and actually file a claim through their insurance. They have to talk to their driver, " he said.
Victims should gather as much information as possible about the perpetrator, the perpetrator's car and the accident itself. This information includes the make, model, color and license plate number of the perpetrator's vehicle ; any details regarding the damage done to the perpetrator's vehicle ; which direction the perpetrator fled in ; pictures of the damage caused to the victim's car and the location, date, time and cause of the accident.
Finally, victims in a hit-and-run should speak to witnesses on the scene to see if they can contribute additional information about the accident. If witnesses provide the victim or the police a statement, the victim should make sure to get contact information from them. Witness testimony is particularly important if the accident occurred when the victim was not in or with their vehicle.
"What advice I would give to somebody who is involved in a leaving-the-scene would be to go ahead and stop the car, call the police, and if you can see the color, the make, the model, the license plate number, if possible [report that ], " Ammons said.
The victim in a hit-and-run will be able to receive assistance from their insurance company. The type of assistance depends on the state in which the accident takes place and in which they are insured, as well as the type of insurance coverage the victim has.
The insurance element All Law breaks down how various insurance companies will handle hit-and-run incidents.
If the victim resides in a no-fault state, their car insurance policy will cover medical expenses, lost wages and cost of replacement services with limitations. This kind of coverage will not compensate victims for pain and suffering or other non-financial losses.
If the victim has collision coverage, they will be able to make an insurance claim for damage caused by the perpetrator but will have to pay a deductible. Collision coverage does not provide for injuries, but only to damage done to the victim's vehicle.
If the perpetrator cannot be located, uninsured motorist coverage can be helpful to the victim. With this type of coverage, the victim files a claim against their own insurance company. Victims who do this are usually able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering with limitations. However, the insurance company will be limited by the amount of uninsured motorist coverage the victim has purchased and victims might later face the decision to bring a lawsuit against their own insurance company if a settlement is unable to be reached.
A victim with liability insurance may be out of luck. Under liability coverage, a victim's insurance policy will not provide compensation for injuries and vehicle damage accrued in a hit-and-run accident. Health insurance can take care of medical bills.
Penalties Ammons said that in the state of
Erin's Law requires all drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury or death to stop at the scene and stay there to provide aid to injured persons and provide their name, phone number, vehicle identification number and description and proof of insurance and with insurance policy number either to the other drive or the police.
Additionally, Ammons said that
Under Erin's Law, these penalties can range from
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