What do I do if the driver leaves the scene?
Getting into a car accident can be an emotional experience even if it is just a fender bender. However, if you are hurt and your car damaged, you could face days, weeks or months unable to get to work, school or elsewhere. Even worse, there is no guarantee that the driver who caused the crash will stay at the scene. What should you do if you are the victim of a hit-and-run car wreck?
Make Sure That You and Others Are Alright
The first thing that you want to do after a car crash is to assess the situation. If you can move, the best thing to do is to get as far away from the vehicle as possible as you don’t know if there is a gas leak or any other potential dangers nearby. From there, you or a witness should call 911 and have the police come to the scene.
The fire department or an ambulance may also be called depending on the situation. Under no circumstances should you try to follow the driver who hit you. You could get lost, aggravate an injury or otherwise compromise your safety and the safety of any passengers by doing so.
Give a Detailed Account of What Happened
When the police arrive, make sure to give a detailed account of how the accident happened and any information about the other driver. Even small details such as the color or make of the car can be helpful.
A license plate number may also make it easier to locate the vehicle that hit you and perhaps the driver as well. Police can also come to an educated guess as to what type of damage the other vehicle may have sustained in the accident, which may also help find the car.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Assuming that you either don’t need medical treatment or have already been seen by a doctor, the next step is to call your insurance company. Your insurance provider may be able to pay some or all of the damages through your comprehensive coverage or through your underinsured or uninsured driver coverage.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage done to a car that was not involved in a car crash or in cases when the other driver leaves the scene. Uninsured or underinsured coverage will help pay damages in the event that the other driver can’t be found or doesn’t have sufficient coverage to pay them him or herself.
If your car is damaged and needs to be repaired, you have the right to take it to any shop that you want. The insurance company is required to pay for the damages assuming that you pay your deductible and the type of repairs are covered under your policy.
Call an Attorney
It may be a good idea to call an attorney and talk about your options when it comes to recovering compensation. While your insurance company may approve the majority of your claim, it may deny some or all of it based on the facts in your case even if you are covered and have a valid request for payment.
Therefore, you should schedule a consultation with an attorney who may be willing to compel the insurance company to pay your claim. It may also be possible to take the driver who hit you to court if he or she is eventually found.
Your attorney will generally represent you until the case is resolved even if it takes time to locate the responsible party. In some cases, this may be the driver of the car, but it may also be the owner of the car who gave the person who hit you permission to drive it.
When the driver who hits you leaves the scene of an accident, you may think that you won’t get compensation for your injuries or damage done to your vehicle. However, there is a good chance that the driver or another responsible party will be found. In the meantime, make sure that you file a police report, get medical treatment and call your insurance company immediately to get the claims process started.