Car Crash but the Other Driver Drove Away! What Now? 

ELI5: Negligence

Car Crash but the Other Driver Drove Away! What Now? 

If this has happened to you, don’t panic! Keep reading.

First Things First 

Make sure that you and all your passengers are okay. If anyone needs medical attention, they’ll need to go to a doctor as soon as possible. If the injuries are severe enough, you may need to call for emergency assistance. In minor collisions where nobody needs emergency medical attention, you can contact the police on the non-emergency hotline to report the accident. If there has been damage done to your vehicle, and you don’t want to pay out of pocket, you can file a claim with your insurance company. In some cases, your insurance company may consider it to be an “at-fault” accident—even if your parked car was hit while you weren’t present. If possible, try and get a picture of the other driver’s license plate while they are leaving the scene. 

“Will I Get in Trouble?” 

It depends on the facts! Under certain circumstances, you could get in trouble. For example, if you were drunk (or otherwise impaired) when the accident occurred, or driving recklessly, you could face consequences for that. In cases where there was a genuine accident, like a fender-bender—regardless of whose fault it was—it is unlikely that you will face criminal or civil consequences if the other driver already left. It is crucial that you report this as soon as you possibly can—even if you think that the accident is your fault. You do not want the other driver to try and claim that you hit their car and you’re the one who left the scene. If you’re responsible for the collision, and the other driver flees the scene, a lot of people think that it doesn’t need to be reported. While you’re not likely to get in trouble if the other driver fled the scene, or be financially responsible for the damages, this could come back to haunt you if you don’t report it. 

Who’s Paying? 

There are a couple of ways your insurance can come in handy: If you’re not at fault, and if you have uninsured motorists, you can use that to cover the damage. You may also be able to use your collision coverage, if you have it. If you are at fault, you’ll likely need to pay the deductible associated with your policy. Alternatively, you may pay out of pocket if you don’t want to get the insurance companies involved. Even if you do go this route, you should still report the accident to the police to protect yourself from broader accusations. 

Getting Compensation 

In order to file a claim against another, at-fault, driver, you do need to know who that driver is. However, that doesn’t mean that a personal injury attorney can’t help you. If you have an uninsured motorists’ policy, a personal injury attorney can help you get compensation that’s fair. So even if the driver flees the scene, you could still get help from a personal injury attorney. Make sure to note the surroundings too. Are there cameras on nearby buildings? Even in residential areas, some people do have cameras around their houses. Stores also usually have cameras on their property, especially in their parking lots and around the front of the store.  However, be sure to request that footage immediately. Many commercial businesses don’t keep camera footage beyond 30 days, and sometimes as short as 7 days. There could also be witnesses who may have seen something helpful. If so, get their names and phone numbers. They may be critical to your claim later. 

Don’t Hit-and-Run! 

If you are in an accident, it is important to remain on the scene and cooperate with the investigation, even if the accident resulted in a fatality. In cases of genuine “accidents” where the at-fault party wasn’t impaired or behaving with an extreme disregard for the safety of others, charges usually aren’t filed. However, if you cause a collision, and you flee the scene, you could be given a ticket, and you could even face more serious criminal charges if the hit-and-run resulted in a fatality. A lot of people think that hit-and-runs are never solved due to a lack of information. While hit-and-runs may be more difficult to investigate, the drivers are sometimes found. You never know what the witnesses saw, or whether or not there were cameras that saw the accident. With the prevalence of dashcams, it is becoming even easier to catch those who flee the scene of an accident. If you flee the scene of an accident, you will likely be in more trouble than you would have been if you just stayed at the scene and cooperated with the police. 

Injured? We’re Here for You 

If you sustained injury in an accident, contact Moxie Law Group today for a free consultation. 

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