A hit-and-run happens every 43 seconds on U.S. roads, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Not only are hit-and-runs illegal in every state across the U.S. with severe repercussions, but passengers or pedestrians with sustained injuries won’t get the timely medical care they need.
Do you need to know what to do if you hit a car and they drive off? Read below for the first steps you need to take.
What Is a Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run is an incident where a driver knowingly leaves the scene after their vehicle hits a person, an object, or another vehicle without giving adequate information.
Hit-and-runs are serious. Leaving the scene is a crime and you can face:
- Fines between $5,000 and $20,000
- Incarceration with a charge of either a felony or misdemeanor
- License suspension
- Sued for damages and suffering
- Cancelation of your car insurance policy
The majority of these incidents aren’t on the road. According to Allstate Insurance, 69% of hit-and-runs involved parked cars, mostly in shopping center parking lots.
These numbers are on the rise. Here are the necessary steps to take if you’re involved in a hit-and-run:
Rule number one: don’t leave the scene! If your car hits another vehicle in the middle of the road, move it to the side of the road if possible.
No matter who is at fault and if the other driver leaves the scene, stay where you are. You need to stay and give your account of the situation and gather all the necessary information.
Call the Police
If someone was injured, call 911. If there are no injuries and it’s not an emergency, call the non-emergency line. Having a police report helps your case and the process of filing an insurance claim is easier.
Once the police arrive, give them the details of the scene you’ve written down below.
Most people have a camera on their phone so take it out and take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the scene of the hit-and-run.
Your insurance provider wants these photos for your claim.
Talk to Witnesses
A pedestrian might have seen everything that happened from a different angle. The police and your insurance provider might want to talk to them.
Write down their contact information and details of what they saw.
Write Everything Down
The details are important. It’s impossible to get every last detail when the other person drives away but if you can, write these down after talking to witnesses:
- License plate number
- The make, model, and color of the other vehicle
- Drive description
- Location and time
- The direction of the other driver
- Description of damage
Call Your Insurance Company
File a claim with your insurance provider as quickly as possible. Give them as many details as possible and the contact information of witnesses.
Even if you’re at fault, this is necessary.
Do You Know What to Do If You Hit a Car and They Drive Off?
Involvement in a hit-and-run quickly becomes a bigger issue if you don’t take the necessary steps. By knowing what to do if you hit a car and they drive off, you’re protecting yourself from any legal action that might happen.
Do you have any legal questions? Check out our blog!