After a car accident, the people involved are obligated to stop and remain on the scene, at the very least to exchange insurance and contact information with each other. When there’s a fatality, injury, entrapment in a vehicle, or serious damage to property, they also need to contact police and emergency personnel.
Unfortunately, there are times when the other driver flees the scene, leaving you stranded. In such cases, what are some of the key actions you should take?
Contact the police and file a report. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the nature of the accident and the amount of damage to people and property caused. While a criminal investigation is separate from any civil proceedings you participate in, the evidence police gather may help you with your civil case; this includes discovering the identity of the fleeing driver.
Talk to witnesses on the scene. Try to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run, as they can further strengthen your case.
Don’t pursue the fleeing driver. This may put you in danger and weaken your case.
Make a report to your auto insurance company. Depending on what policy you have, you may be covered for hit-and-run accidents; it will be a provision for ‘uninsured motorists.’ Make sure you know what’s in your auto insurance policy, and under what circumstances you’d get compensation for personal injury or property damage in the case of a hit-and-run accident. Typically, if the other driver is never found or is uninsured, you’d be relying on this provision from your insurance policy.
If the fleeing driver is found? You can take them to court or file a claim with their insurance company (if they’re insured).
Don’t release your claim in the aftermath of an accident. Always consult with an attorney after an accident, especially one with serious bodily harm and property damage; don’t sign anything which would release your claim for compensation.
Indianapolis car accident lawyers can help in the aftermath of a hit-and-run, both for dealing with insurance companies and for any civil claims against the fleeing driver, if he or she is found. Contact us to discuss your case and get advice on how to proceed after you’ve become the victim of a hit-and-run driver.