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Tips For Handling A Hit And Run Driver Claim

When you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you likely feel angry and confused, and it can be unclear how to get compensation for your damages and injuries. However, there are steps you can take to create a smoother experience, should you be in this unfortunate situation.

This page will walk you through the appropriate ways to handle a hit and run accident, as well as the types of coverage that may apply.

What Is a Hit and Run Accident?

A hit and run accident is any accident in which a driver intentionally leaves the scene without providing contact information.

Examples of hit and run accidents include:

  • A car hits you and speeds off.
  • A driver hits your unattended parked car and leaves no contact information or way of collecting damages.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident

While you'll likely be feeling immense stress if you're a victim of a hit and run, it will help to stay as calm as possible and gather as much information as you can.

Having more information:

  • Increases the chances that the police will catch the driver who hit you.
  • Helps your car insurance company make decisions about your claim.

First, get as much information as you can about the car that hit you, such as:

  • Model.
  • Make.
  • License plate number.

Also, look around for any possible witnesses to the accident, and ask for their names and contact information.

Finally, take the following steps before leaving the scene:

  • Write down the time and location of the accident.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene.
  • Take pictures of your car, especially if another car's paint is visible on it.
    • This will help you prove that you are not attempting to defraud your insurance company.*

If the hit and run occurred when you were away from your parked car, jot down as much information as you can, such as:

  • Time.
  • Location.
  • Damage.

* A note about fraud: Some drivers hit an object and try to claim that they were the victim of a hit and run, so you want to be able to prove that you are not attempting fraud yourself.

Filing a Police Report

When someone hits you and drives off, you may feel compelled to chase him in your car. But beware: this can cause you to drive recklessly and get into another accident, or to be the victim of retaliation from the other driver.

A better idea is to call the police as soon as possible and file an accident report that includes the names of any witnesses and other important details.

Even if the police do not find the driver who hit you, having a police report on file can hasten the auto claims process and give you an official document to rely upon later.

Car Insurance Coverage for Hit and Run Accidents

Often, uninsured motorist coverage from your car insurance company covers hit and run accidents:

  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage pays for medical expenses.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) covers car repairs.

Some states require uninsured motorist coverage, while others allow it but do not require it. Also note that in many cases where UMBI is offered, UMPD is not. Check with your car insurance company to see which coverages will cover hit and run accidents in your state. Note that certain states will not allow UM property damage coverage to be used to pay for damages from a hit and run.

Filing a Hit and Run Claim

If you are able to identify the person who hit you, you can get the car insurance information from your insurance company or the policy and file a claim with their car insurance company.

If the driver did not carry adequate protection, you can try to get your money through an attorney and the court system.

If you are unable to identify the person who hit you, or that person does not have enough insurance to cover your costs, you can file a claim with your own car insurance company using one or more of the coverages mentioned above.

In a few states, car insurance companies waive your deductible for hit and run claims.

Will a Hit and Run Claim Raise My Rates?

Whether a hit and run claim will raise your car insurance rates depends on what state you live in.

Contact your auto insurance agent to find out about your rates in case you are a victim of a hit and run accident.

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