What to do after a hit and run collision

— Erick Tyson von Mueller

If you are involved in a collision and the other driver leaves the scene, whether you were in your vehicle when it was hit or the other driver dented it in the parking lot when you weren’t around, it’s called a “hit and run.”

If your vehicle has been hit in a hit and run:

  • Call 911 — Call 911 if you were in your vehicle when it was hit or someone was injured. Once help is on the way, write down any details you remember about the vehicle that hit you, like its color, make and model, and license plate number (even if you only remember part of it) and issuing state.
  • Find out if there were any witnesses — Canvass the immediate area to find people nearby who may have witnessed the incident. If you do find any witnesses, be sure to write down their contact information in case the police or your insurance company need to contact them.
  • Take photographs — If it’s safe to do so, take photographs of the scene where the collision took place, as well as any damage to your vehicle. If you can see that paint has transferred onto your vehicle from the one that hit it, be sure to take photos of that, too.
  • Report the hit and run to the police as soon as possible — If you did not already call 911, report the incident as soon as possible, at least within 24 hours. A hit and run is a crime, and it’s extremely important that you report it without any delay. If the police tell you that the damage is too minor to report, write down the officer’s name, badge number, and phone number so your insurer can follow up. You are required by law to report any accident causing bodily injury or at least $750 worth of property damage.
  • Call your broker or your insurance company’s emergency service line — Be prepared to provide as many details as you can to help your broker and insurance company process your claim as quickly as possible.
Baby's first insurance words

insurer an insurance company)

insurance premium the amount of money you pay for an insurance policy

Insurance for hit and run accidents

Unfortunately, hit-and-run accident victims are doubly victimized. First, they suffer loss from the accident. Then, the person who causes the loss tries to evade all responsibility.

If you are injured in a hit-and-run, whether you were hit in your vehicle or as a pedestrian, get medical attention as soon as possible for a diagnosis of your injuries and stabilizing treatment. How will you pay for it? Worry about that later.

Some personal injury lawyers can help you find a doctor even if you do not have medical insurance.

How will you get the compensation you need for a full recovery? Talk to an accident attorney who can explain your rights and your options. Typically, there are two possibilities:

  • Find the driver — If you or a witness was able to get any identifying information about the vehicle that hit you such as a full or partial license plate, description of the car, or driver description, there is a chance that an attorney investigating your case can determine who was responsible for your damages.
  • Your own car insurance — If you can not find the driver, if you have the optional uninsured motorist coverage on your policy, your insurance can pay for your injuries. You paid the premium and you are entitled to coverage.

In general, if you cannot find the other driver, and if you don’t have uninsured motorist supplemental automobile insurance coverage, you will have to pay to repair the damage yourself.

Will a hit and run collision affect my car insurance premium?

When you submit a claim, you’re asking your insurer to compensate you for loss or damage to items that are covered by your insurance policy.

The circumstances of the accident will heavily influence possible insurance rate increases. Even in a hit-and-run, your insurance company must determine your negligence, if any, in causing the accident.

While the hit-and-run driver’s failing to comply with the law that requires everyone to stop, exchange information, and report the accident is clearly negligent behavior, that does not necessarily mean the hit-and-run driver caused the accident. For example, if you had been at fault for the accident, but the other driver did not have insurance, the other driver may have fled to avoid discovery by the police.

After the car accident, it’s unlikely that your rates will increase instantly without careful consideration by your insurer into the particular circumstances of the incident.

An increase will depend on the insurance company’s policy involving rate increases based on accidents. The company will consider various factors when it comes to determining any premium increases, including:

  • your age;
  • your past driving history; and
  • and who is at fault in this accident.

Instead of an instant increase, it’s more likely that if there will be any increase at all, the increase will be applied when the policy is about to renew. A rate increase could be as high as 50 percent or as low as four percent depending on your driving and insurance claim history.

It’s possible for you to lose your safe driving and other discounts after an accident. The loss of these discounts will also increase your premium.

The duration that rate increases remain in place will be determined by your ability to maintain a safe driving record.

This article has 916 words.

Erick Tyson von Mueller profile image

Erick Tyson von Mueller

Erick is a researcher and life-long student of the arts. He graduated from university after studying intelligence and fell into the deep state. He has surfaced now and again to run a drive-through coffee shop (!), an award-winning live music venue in Austin, Texas (!), and a cement block factory in Uruguay (!), among other adventures in a life otherwise spent performing analysis. His speciality remains state security and the philosophy of the prison world.