Are you travelling during the festive period? If you are, this article might come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in a hit-and-run car accident.
When a driver flees the scene of an accident, it’s important to gather as much information as you can and talk to the police.
Texas drivers flee accident scenes for a number of reasons, such as:
- Not having a valid driver’s license
- Not having insurance (14.1% of Texans are uninsured)
- Having warrants
- Being impaired by drugs or alcohol
When one of the drivers leaves the scene, it can complicate the insurance claims process.
Your health is the most important thing. Call 911 if you were in the vehicle when it was hit, or if someone was injured in the accident.
Seek medical attention even if you have no apparent injuries. It’s not uncommon for car accidents to cause delayed injuries, where symptoms don’t present until days after the incident. If you wait too long to see a doctor, you hurt your chances of filing a personal injury claim.
While you’re waiting at the scene, gather and write down as much information as you can to report to the police, including:
- The other driver’s license plate number
- The make, model and colour of the vehicle
- Approximate year of the car
- Time and location of the accident
- Direction the driver was heading
- Contact information of witnesses
Jot down every detail – no matter how minor. This information may help the police locate the driver.
Make sure that you speak with any witnesses at the scene and gather their contact information. Your insurance company may want to speak to these witnesses to get an account of what happened.
If it’s safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene and your vehicle, especially if there is damage. Take some close-up photos of the damage to show the police and the insurance company. If any paint has transferred to your vehicle, take photos of that as well.
File a Police Report
Report the hit-and-run to the police within 24 hours of the incident. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime and should be reported to the police.
Make sure that you get the name, badge number, and phone number of the officer so that your insurance company can follow-up.
If you don’t report the hit-and-run, you may be considered “at fault” by your insurer and it could impact your premiums. Filing a report may also mean that the police locate the fleeing driver who will then be held accountable for their actions.
Call Your Insurance Company
After reporting the incident to the police, call your insurance company to inform them of the accident and discuss your options.
Depending on your coverage, your insurer may be able to help with towing and getting you a rental car if needed.
If you were able to identify the fleeing driver, you may be able to get his or her insurance information from your insurance company. With this information, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurer.
If you have an uninsured motorist policy, this should cover the cost of injuries and damages caused by the accident.