Tips For Handling A Hit And Run Driver Claim
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It's stressful being in any type of a car accident.
But, in general, accidents involving hit and run drivers cause the most emotional turbulence. Feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and anger often surface once you've realized what happened. What can - and should - you do after being a victim of a hit and run driver?
It's hard to give specific advice, as these accidents arise in so many situations, but below are a few things to keep in mind.
Try to immediately record as much information as you can about the incident. Of course, this may not be possible or feasible in all situations, but it's helpful if you can provide a description of the vehicle that hit you (make, model, and color - even license plate number if you can) when it's time to file a police report and an accident claim with your auto insurance company.
Even if you can't recall any of these bits of information, at least write down the location and time of the accident, and as many other details about the sequence of events as you can. Check to see if anyone might have witnessed the accident, and then get their names and contact information.
It's tempting to chase the other driver if you can. But, it's dangerous to do so.
You can't be sure what the other driver may be thinking, or what sort of action will be taken once you've been spotted. Plus, your adrenaline may cause you to drive without your usual caution, and you might create your own accident.
So, after being struck by a hit and run driver, it's best to remain in control, record what you can remember, and contact the police - even if that seems unsatisfying to you.
It's smart to contact law enforcement and file an accident report after you've recorded the information. This applies even in situations where it may seem like a waste of time because you don't have much information to give to the reporting officer.
But, having a police report can hasten the auto claims process, and give you an official document to rely upon later.
If you have enough information that can be used to eventually identify the guilty party, you can gain that person's car insurance information (via the police or your insurer), contact the carrier, file a claim with them, and attempt to collect money for your expenses.
That assumes the guilty driver carried adequate protection. If that's not the case, you can try to get your money through an attorney and the court system.
If the other driver can't be identified or doesn't have enough insurance to pay all your expenses, you can file a claim with your insurer. But, that's only if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.
This protection usually comes in two varieties: bodily injury and property. The former covers injuries you or your passengers incur, while the latter covers the damages to your car. Keep in mind, though, you'll have to pay the applicable deductibles.
What happens if you don't have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance and don't know who caused the accident? Unfortunately, you'll have to pay the expenses yourself--and consider adding this coverage when you get quotes for your car insurance.
Sometimes you won't be around for the accident. For instance, maybe you're shopping at the mall or attending a sporting event. When you return to your car, you notice a large dent that wasn't there when you left.
In these situations, just record the basic information (date, time, place, damage) and contact the police. That's essentially all you can do, unless you're a dynamite private investigator.
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