What to Do if You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run

What to Do if Someone Hits Your Car and Drives Off

Car accidents are bad, but hit and runs are worse. You may be hit by a car while crossing the street or backing out of a parking spot. These accidents can also occur in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on the interstate. Hit-and-runs are often less dramatic, as you may have not been present when the collision occurred. You may come out of your house or the store you were just shopping in to see a scrape or dent that wasn’t there before. In order for your claim to qualify as a hit-and-run, the driver who hit you must meet the following criteria:
  • Leaves the scene of an accident
  • Does not identify themselves to the other parties
  • Causes an injury or property damage
Drivers often flee the scene of a crash because they’re too scared to face the consequences, but a hit-and-run carries much more severe penalties than a usual car accident. If you commit a hit and run in California, you’re going to face either a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor is reserved for cases of solely property damage and it becomes a felony if there’s an injury or death. To get the costs of your hit-and-run compensated, you must be careful in how you move forward. You should always go through this process alongside an accident injury attorney because they know the legal ins and outs in getting compensated for accidents where the at-fault driver is nowhere to be found.

At The Scene Of A Hit-And-Run

Any hit and run accident lawyer will tell you to first make sure everyone is safe. Then, move your car to a safe place if possible so it doesn’t cause another accident. Call 911 so that anyone who needs medical attention can receive it and so that police officers can come and take a report.

The responding officer will be able to help gather important evidence, and they’ll also know how to best try to identify the driver that hit you.

First, you can try to provide the officer with the following information that can be used to identify the driver:

  • Car make, model and color
  • Unique or identifying marks on the car, like bumper stickers or dents
  • License plate number
  • Driver’s appearance
  • Circumstances of the crash

Something as simple as a car make and model or even a paint scrape on your vehicle can be used to identify them. On top of that, so many businesses and homes nowadays have security cameras that run 24/7, either catching the accident on tape or the person fleeing the scene.

You can also ask nearby witnesses for more detail and to corroborate that the other driver fled. As always, take photos of the damage to your car.

Following the Accident

If you’re unable to identify the other driver, don’t worry. Similar to suing an underinsured driver, you would file this claim with your insurance under your underinsured or uninsured motorist policy. Like with any accident, you need to call your insurance agent and tell them what happened, as hiding this information from them could cause your rates to go up should they find out.

You can also call an accident attorney to see what they can do.

Under California civil law, you must file a claim for a hit-and-run up to two years after the accident. However, our lawyers for hit and run accidents will tell you not to wait, as the sooner you submit your claim the sooner you’ll get paid.

For the best legal representation following a hit and run, contact Accident Lawyers Firm. We offer free consultations, so why wait?