San Diego
Personal Injury Attorneys

What Do I Do If The Driver Leaves The Scene?

An auto accident is bad enough when two parties are involved. The situation worsens when one party flees the scene. A hit-and-run scenario is frustrating for the party who remains at the accident’s location. Consider these tips on how to react when a driver leaves the accident scene. With some quick observations, law-enforcement personnel may be able to locate the person to cover certain damages.

Document Every Detail

You may be caught off guard when the driver accelerates away from the scene. However, you can still do something about this offense. Write down as many of the license plate’s figures that you can see. Document the vehicle’s make, model, year and color. If you’re not sure, do your best to guess these details.

Take a photo of the vehicle leaving the scene if possible. Make a note of which street or direction the vehicle was heading toward after the accident. All of these details can help police officers find the offender.

Ask For Witness Statements

If you’re not injured, do your best to meet any witnesses at the scene. There might be people on the street corner who witnessed the accident. Ask for their names and contact information. In many cases, these witnesses can help officers find hit-and-run drivers so that your damages can be covered.

Be polite to these witnesses. Some people are shy about getting involved in such unusual circumstances. Be honest with your feelings as you speak to the witnesses. You may be able to convince them to help you by showing your human side.

Call the Police

Notifying the police is mandatory in this case. A hit-and-run driver has committed a crime that must be rectified. Give your statement to the police. Offer as many details as possible. Remain calm throughout the discussion. They may have questions for you that extends the time at the scene. The police will create a report of the situation. Ask for a copy of the report so that you can have some proof of the accident as you notify your healthcare provider and auto-insurance company.

Notify the Insurance Company

With your police report in hand, contact your insurance company. Give them a full account of the situation. Unfortunately, hit-and-run drivers are common for insurance companies. They may have you fill out a form or create another report based on your experience. Be aware that insurance coverage may be delayed at this point. You want the information from the hit-and-run driver so that any potential coverage is supplied by his or her policy. Keep this in mind as you rent cars or make other arrangements while your vehicle is being repaired.

Hire Qualified Counsel

In general, hiring a lawyer for an auto accident isn’t always necessary. A hit-and-run situation, however, is completely different. You need protection from the law in case the insurance company won’t cover some or all of your repairs. The driver who left the scene may show up later on with a story claiming that you’re at fault. Hiring a qualified lawyer only protects you and your assets. There may be minimal paperwork and fewer issues involved if you understand your rights directly from an attorney’s perspective.

Follow up With the Case

Contact the police officer who’s in charge of your case. He or she may have some information that helps you with your recovery. Ideally, the driver will be found. He or she can now pay for the damages that they’re responsible for in the first place. This scenario doesn’t always play out this way, however. The officer may have to shelve the case, which means that you must pay for everything through your insurance alone.

Regardless of the hit-and-run situation, never go after the person yourself. There’s a reason why they ran, and you may not want to know that reason. Allow the law professionals to find and charge the person. You simply want your vehicle and medical situations resolved so that you can move forward with your life.

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