When you are out on the road and become involved in an accident, you expect the other driver to stop and deal with the situation. However, that does not always happen. Drivers who do not have a license or insurance may flee the scene, and a hit-and-run accident is serious business. The driver who leaves the scene could face fines, jail time and a loss of her or his license. But once you have been in a hit-and-run accident, you may need to take extra steps to handle the situation.
Remain calm and be safe
A vehicle crash is stressful, but by remaining calm, you can assess the situation more effectively. You want to get medical attention first, whether the other driver stays or not. Get to a safe place or make sure you alert traffic to your vehicle by putting on emergency flashers. Your safety and health are more important than anything else after an accident.
Get as much information as you can about the other vehicle. The make, model, year, license plate and any other identifying descriptions can assist the police in finding the other driver. The direction the vehicle took is another factor that can help find the driver.
If you are able, take pictures of the damaged vehicles and the surrounding area. If you can take a video of traffic and weather conditions, this can be good evidence if you need it. Get the names of witnesses, and make a note of anything you can remember about the vehicle that drove away.
With a hit-and-run accident, you want to make a police report. Let officials find the missing driver and hold the person responsible. Use the police report to demonstrate to your insurance company that the accident occurred.
You should not leave the scene of an accident yourself in a hit-and-run accident. If the police are called, you could be the one in a compromised position for fleeing the scene. File the accident claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Consumer Reports estimates that medical treatment from a non-fatal crash can cost on average $23,400. Even though New York State requires uninsured motorist insurance, you may want to pursue action against the other driver, if the person can be found.
Negotiating with an insurance company
Serious motor vehicle accident injuries are not one-size-fits-all. The insurance company may not want to work with you to cover all your medical bills and treatment. You may need to discuss your situation with an attorney to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your situation. Get as much information about your rights before you settle a claim.