Hit and Run Accidents: What Victims Need to Know
Being involved in a car accident of any kind is distressing and a headache for everyone involved. However, being involved in a hit and run is exponentially more stressful, especially if the driver at fault is never found. Victims of these types of collisions are often left fighting their own insurance companies for compensation to cover something that wasn’t even their fault, and they are occasionally even accused of attempting to fraud their insurance providers. This is unacceptable, and that’s why we at Sessums Law Group want to make sure you are prepared if you ever find yourself in this situation.
So, what should you do if you are involved in a hit and run accident?
First off, it’s important to determine the type of hit and run accident you are involved with. If you were in the car at the time of the collision, then you have a better chance of collecting helpful evidence that can lead to finding the person who hit you, or at the very least, allow for an easier time of processing claims with your insurance company. However, some hit and run damages occur while you are away from your car. For example, you might come out to your car after a long day spent shopping and find that someone backed into your vehicle, causing damage to the body and the paint job, and left without attempting to notify you or leaving their own contact info. This situation can complicate claims with your insurance company and delay getting your vehicle repairs covered.
In the case of a hit and run where you are present at the time of the collision (and are not seriously injured), you should take the following steps:
- Attempt to get as much information about the other driver as possible including car make/model, car color, license plate number, and perhaps even snap a photo if your phone (camera) is handy.
- Call the police and file a report. Often, an officer will be sent to the scene. Calling the police at the first opportunity means you are more likely to catch who hit you. Even if the other driver is never found, having a police report will be a beneficial and validating document to have on file when claiming coverage with your insurance company.
- Look for anyone who witnessed the accident. If they’re willing to wait on the police, then they can be interviewed by the officer on site. Otherwise, ask for their contact information so the police can contact them at a later time.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle and any surrounding area, etc. This includes taking pictures of any injuries to you if able.
- Write down all details of the accident including the date, time, exact location, etc.
If you were away from your vehicle at the time of a collision, you can still take steps to make filing insurance claims easier. If you return to your car and find that it has sustained damage while you were gone, take down as much information as you can including:
- Exact location of car at time of collision.
- Time you found the damage.
- A summary of the damages to your vehicle.
- Photos of the scene, and of all damages to your vehicle. This is especially important if there is paint from the other vehicle visible on your car. Photos of this type of damage can help prove that you are not attempting fraud.
- Contact information for any witnesses who are willing to share information about the accident.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident in the greater Polk County area, we are ready to help you get the coverage your deserve. Sessums Law Group is proud to serve Sebring and the surrounding areas, and is happy to offer personalized, top-quality service to our clients. Hit and runs are never planned on, so when something unexpected happens and you need legal help, we stand for YOU!