Getting into a car accident is usually stressful, scary, and inconvenient, but it can get even worse if the other driver decides to flee from the accident scene. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit-and-run accidents account for about 11% to 13% of all car crashes. If you should find yourself watching helplessly as another driver speeds away after hitting your vehicle, here are four steps you should take immediately after a hit-and-run:
1. Stay at the scene and call the police
It may be tempting to chase after the other driver in a hit-and-run accident, but it’s not advisable. Trying to follow or detain the other driver could jeopardize your safety and only make the situation more stressful or dangerous. Instead, stay at the scene and contact the police immediately to file an accident report. The sooner you can notify authorities of the accident, the faster they can start searching for the driver.
2. Gather evidence from the accident
After pulling your car to the side of the road or somewhere safe near the scene, you’ll want to prepare yourself to give as much information as possible to the police. Take pictures of your vehicle from multiple angles, the damage, and the location of the accident. Make a note of the accident’s time and the direction the other driver was traveling when you last saw them.
Getting the other driver’s license plate number would be ideal, but if you can’t, try to remember as many details as possible about the vehicle and the driver of the car. Include the make, model and color of the vehicle along with any other helpful identifiers, such as a bumper sticker. If there are witnesses, record their contact information and ask them if they will speak with the police.
3. Get your police report
After the police speak with you and witnesses to the accident, ask the officers when your accident report will be available. You can take note of the officer’s names and badge numbers to make obtaining the report easier once it is ready. A police report will also be necessary for filing your insurance claim.
4. Contact your insurance company
Once you have everything you need from the scene of the accident, call your insurance provider as soon as possible to file a claim for a hit-and-run accident. Whether or not you receive compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle will depend on whether police catch the other party and the type of insurance coverage you have.