Hit-and-runs happen any time a driver causes a crash — by hitting another vehicle, person or object — and then flees the scene without providing any identification or vehicle information. Unfortunately, hit-and-runs occur relatively often — an estimated rate of every 43 seconds, which adds up to over 730,000 per year.
If you’re a victim of a hit-and-run, it can be difficult to know what to do in the scenario. You’re left with zero information about the other driver, and you might have a few witnesses, but that’s not always the case.
Fortunately, this guide will walk you through what to do in a hit-and-run situation if you ever encounter one.
Seek Safety and Call 911
If you or your vehicle were the object of the hit-and-run, the first thing to do is secure safety. Your safety and health should be your priorities following the accident. If the accident was a minor bump to your car, avoid following the fleeing vehicle.
Once you have reached safety, call 911 or find a witness to call 911 if you were in your vehicle while hit — or if someone was injured in the crash. Seek medical attention if necessary.
Find a Witness
When you don’t have access to the driver-at-fault information, you need to gather as much evidence as you can from your surroundings.
Whether another driver or a pedestrian saw the hit-and-run, ask them for their contact information and any other facts they remember from the crash. Write down their stories and their contact information to provide to the police. Having their contact information can also be useful if you need to ask follow-up questions later on.
Besides getting information from witnesses, gather your own evidence. Begin by taking photos of the scene. If you can safely snap a picture of the runaway vehicle immediately after the crash, do so. Write out anything you can remember from the accident, which may include:
- Any numbers or letters from the license plate.
- The color, make or model of the runaway vehicle.
- The direction the car was heading.
- Location, date and time of the crash.
- Descriptions of the damage.
Any information you can provide can help locate the hit-and-run vehicle.
Report it to the Police
Within the next 24 hours, you’ll want to call the local police and file a report of the hit-and-run. A hit-and-run is a crime, and there can be severe consequences for the perpetrator.
An official report helps the police find the missing vehicle. The police may tell you the damage isn’t sufficient enough to report. In that case, get the badge number, name and number of the officer so your insurer can contact them.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
No matter what type of accident you’re involved in, contact your insurance provider so they can help you through the next steps. They’ll want to know all the details of the hit-and-run, so be ready to provide them with those.
Don’t Let Your Life Get Away From You
A hit-and-run is an unpredictable and alarming situation that changes your day and can even be life-altering. Take these steps to get back to your life before the accident happened.