When a driver leaves the scene after a hit and run accident, it usually leaves those involved stunned and not sure how to proceed. Both the victims and the witnesses. While you will hopefully never find yourself in this situation, knowing how to report a hit and run can be very useful when you need it.
Steps to Take If You Witness a Hit and Run
If you are present when a hit and run accident takes place, the first thing you should do is make sure you are safe by pulling over to the side of the road and turning on your hazard lights. Once you are in a safe place, follow these steps.
- Record as Much Information as Possible
Either on a pad of paper or in your phone, write down any details you can immediately remember about the car that left the scene. Useful information includes a license plate number, make and model of the car, description of the driver, etc. If you have the opportunity to take photos of the car, those would be helpful as well.
- Call the Police
You should not assume that anyone else on the scene has called the police and asking around may waste valuable time. The 911 operator will need to know your location and any other relevant details you can provide.
- Leave a Note
If you witness a minor car accident, like someone bumping a car in the parking lot and then leaving you should leave a note on the victim’s car. Let them know you witnessed the damage and leave your contact information so they can get ahold of you.
- Be Prepared for Witness Statements
The police and insurance providers may be interested in getting a witness statement from you about the accident. This will include many of the details we’ve already covered like identifying information about yourself and details about the accident. You may also be asked for you perspective on how the crash happened and a signature will likely be requested.
What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run
When another driver hits your car and drives away, you’re left with damage and no one to take responsibility. So, what can you do about a hit and run? Below are the steps you should take when you’re the victim of a hit and run.
- Stay at the Scene
Never leave the scene of an accident, especially a hit and run. Remaining at the scene allows police to assess what happened and collect information for the official report which will come in handy later.
- Take Down Driver Information
If possible, record any information that you can collect about the driver that left the scene. Maybe you remember the make and model of their car, the direction they were driving or possibly even a few digits of their license plate. Any information you are able to provide to the police may help.
- Call the Police
Notify the authorities and let them know you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. When the police arrive, you’ll walk them through what happened and file an official police report. Your insurance provider will likely request a copy of this report.
- Document Damages
Take pictures of damage to your vehicle at the scene, if possible. Showing the physical damage to your vehicle at the scene will give police and your insurance provider the most accurate depiction of what happened. It’s also important to record evidence of any bodily injury, also providing pictures if applicable.
- Identify Witnesses
Make note of all individuals who may have witnessed the accident occur and collect their contact information. Their account of what happened can be useful in processing your claim.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Once a police report has been filed and you’ve documented the damage, it’s time to file an insurance claim with your provider. Depending on your provider, it’s likely that the hit-and-run insurance claim process is the same as filing any auto insurance claim. Your provider will walk you through what is needed.
What Not to Do After a Hit and Run
In any accident, but especially a hit-and-run, there are certain actions you should avoid for safety reasons. Below are some things that could put you at risk following an accident.
- Attempt to Follow the Driver
Following the driver could lead to an unsafe situation. You could potentially get in another auto accident, or the driver of the car could be a threat to you. You should instead remain at the scene of the accident and make note of any details about the individual or their car.
- Hesitate to Call the Police
A hit-and-run accident is a crime and should always be reported to the local police department.
- Neglect to Seek Medical Attention
Immediately after an accident minor aches and pains can be easy to dismiss but may develop into a larger issue later. It’s always wise to seek medical help after an accident to ensure that you are okay and there are no medical needs that should be noted as part of the accident.
Find and Agent You Trust
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is never pleasant. But a knowledgeable and trusted agent can make all the difference in this process. Find a local Farm Bureau agent today who can make sure you have the auto coverage you need and will be a resource for you if you find yourself in need of filing a claim.