Hit-and-run accidents can be some of the most disheartening auto collisions. You’re already dealing with the shock and stress of being hit by another driver. If that driver then fails to pull over and deal with their consequences, they leave you with an entirely new problem. Our wish is that this never happens to you—but if it does, you need to know what your options are.
Here are the steps you should take if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
What Should I Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
The moments right after the crash are important for your case. Since a hit-and-run means the driver fled the scene after hitting you, you won’t be able to ask them for their information like other accidents. But there are some other actions you can take to protect yourself and increase your chances of still seeking compensation for your damages.
Do the following.
1. Pull Over to a Safe Location
Try to stay calm, and pull your vehicle off to the side of the road, away from oncoming traffic. The last thing you want is to get into another accident, so keep yourself out of further harm’s way.
If the other driver flees immediately, you might be tempted to chase after them—but that can just make the situation worse. Stay pulled over and gather information from there (more on that below).
Also if you or another person in your vehicle requires immediate medical attention, get it right away. Otherwise, stay at the scene and follow the next steps.
2. Call 911 to Report the Accident
Call police to report the accident as soon as you can. Even if you don’t have information on the other driver, not reporting the accident can lead your insurance company to deny any claim or draw out the process. Plus, a hit-and-run is a crime, and reporting the accident may help hold the other driver responsible.
Tell the police everything you can about the accident, including any distinguishing features you remember about the driver and their vehicle. If you can, take a picture of the back of their vehicle before they drive away. Getting the license plate number can help police look them up and identify them.
Even if the police tell you the damage from the accident isn’t bad enough to report, get the officer’s name, badge number, and contact information so your insurer will be able to call them.
3. Gather All the Information You Can
Take pictures of any vehicle damage you suffered from the accident, any injuries, and the accident scene itself. Write down anything you can remember about the accident, including what happened right before and after.
Again, try to record anything you remember about the other driver. If you can recollect their license plate number or any details of their vehicle, that is most important. Submitting the license plate number to your auto insurance company may prevent you from having to pay deductible costs.
4. Talk to Witnesses
If anyone saw the hit-and-run happen, ask them what they saw and get their contact information.
Witness testimony is important for backing up your story about what happened—and they could have seen details about the accident you didn’t. If they remember anything about the other driver, ask them to write it down.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
If a hit-and-run driver is not identified, they are considered the same as an uninsured motorist under insurance.
In Georgia, insurance companies must offer Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage to all policyholders. It’s an optional coverage, but most drivers have it. Unless you refused it (usually by unchecking a box) when you signed up with your insurer, your policy probably includes it.
To utilize this coverage, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company. If you’re unsure whether you have it, call your agent and ask. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible about the accident and any information you have on the other driver. A car accident lawyer can help you by investigating the accident further and gathering as much information as possible.
Will I Have to Pay for My Own Damages After a Hit-and-Run?
The sad truth is that without enough information, you could be left paying the bill for at least some of your damages. But don’t give up hope just yet. Call a hit-and-run accident lawyer who can help.
Hit-and-run lawyers are trained to handle these types of cases. They will help you investigate the accident and the other driver to compile as much evidence as possible. They can also help you handle your own insurance company when seeking recovery through your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.
If you’re able to demonstrate the accident occurred and that it wasn’t your fault, your own coverage may take care of your damages. And if you and your attorney can uncover enough information about the other driver, they could be held responsible for all of your costs.
Talk to a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we know how stressful and hit-and-run accidents can be. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to build the strongest case possible. Our goal is the fullest financial recovery possible. Don’t try to handle a hit-and-run alone, especially if you suffered significant injuries or property damage—or both. Call us today for a FREE consultation. We’re available 24/7 by phone at 404-400-4000, or you can fill out the quick form on this page to get your free consultation.