What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident
Car accidents are traumatizing enough as it is, but insult gets added to injury when they’re of the hit-and-run variety. According to multiple sources, there are approximately 700,000 hit-and-run car accidents every year in the United States. Hopefully you’ll never be involved in one, but if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it’s important to know how to respond.
Call the Police
If you go into a supermarket and come out later to find that your car’s been trashed by a hit-and-run driver, the first thing to do is call the police. Leaving the scene of an accident is a big deal, and the cops want to know about it. It’s legally required, and their involvement could lead to the discovery of the hit-and-run driver.
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident while driving, and the other driver speeds off, it’s best to pull over and park – “giving chase” could lead to another accident (not to mention your arrest). If you’re injured, tell the police you require medical attention.
Call Your Car Insurance Provider
The sooner you call your car insurance provider, the sooner you’ll get the ball rolling on the eventual resolution of your problems. What’s more, you’re eliminating the perception that you waited to place the call — experience has taught car insurers to embrace healthy skepticism when it comes to claims.
Being upfront and forthright goes a very long way with them.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, document the damage to your car. You can also send the images to your car insurance agent to speed up the process of filing a claim.
If your cell phone is not equipped with a camera function, consider buying a digital camera to keep in your car just for this reason. They’re pretty cheap these days, and what they do for you could end up saving you money.
Have Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Perhaps the smartest response to a hit-and-run accident takes place before the accident itself: buying uninsured motorist coverage. This policy is expressly designed to protect you in case you get into an accident with someone who can’t (or won’t, in the case of a hit-and-run driver) pay for damage to your car or bodily injury.
Life is full of chances and risks, and everyone who owns a car is in some danger of being the victim of a hit-and-run accident. With a bit of preparation and a lot of common sense, however, the repercussions can be minimized.