Equifax

Finance Blog

How to Handle a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

Written by Linda Rey on December 1, 2011 in Insurance  |   6 comments

You always hope that there are no injuries in the event of a car accident. In addition, there are always a lot of emotions that can exacerbate the situation. So what happens if you’re a victim in a hit-and-run car accident? It could be absolutely…

hit and run car accidentYou always hope that there are no injuries in the event of a car accident. In addition, there are always a lot of emotions that can exacerbate the situation. So what happens if you’re a victim in a hit-and-run car accident? It could be absolutely debilitating—physically and emotionally.

The first thing to do after any accident is to see if anyone is hurt or needs medical attention. After any medical issues have been addressed, you can deal with the accident report and insurance claim.

What information can you gather at the scene of the car accident?

Do not chase after the other vehicle. This could be dangerous, and it’s better to let the professionals take care of the situation. If you are able to secure the vehicle’s license plate information (even just a part of it), you can add it to the accident report. You should also add as detailed of a description as possible of the vehicle that drove away from the scene of the car accident.

If there are witnesses to the scene, or if there were other people in your car at the time of the accident, ask if they remember more of the license plate or can provide a better description than you can. You may be more upset than the witnesses or bystanders, and they may be able to provide more accurate information to the authorities. The more information you can give to the police, the better.

Steps to take in an accident when the other driver has disappeared

  1. File a police report. The police need to have all the information on record to assist in finding the guilty party in the car accident. It’s sad, but there is so much fraud in our society that the insurance company must take every precaution to determine if the claim is legitimate. A police report is a sworn statement that the insurance company will take very seriously.
  2. Report the incident to your insurance company and to your agent.

Bear in mind that the definition of a hit-and-run accident and the coinciding penalty differ by state.

How to file a claim when the driver at fault fled the accident scene

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you against both financial and non-financial losses sustained as a result of an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver.

Financial losses that may be incurred by the victim of a hit-and-run car accident include medical expenses and lost wages. This applies to you as a driver or a pedestrian, as well as to other passengers in your car or to other people driving your car with your permission.

Non-financial damages can be subjective, but you are still entitled to financial compensation according to the law. These types of damages include the loss of ability to engage in activities due to injuries, pain, and suffering.

A warning about car accidents and hit-and-run drivers

A friend of mind was out on the town with friends when a car hit him as he was crossing the street. The drunk driver tried to leave the scene of the accident, but there were enough witnesses with information to find the driver—a teenage driver, driving his parent’s car.

My friend was in a coma for a very long time, but he was lucky and recovered. Even today he’s not back to 100 percent, and he will always have compromised mobility and need physical therapy.

He was extremely lucky in that he had sufficient insurance and was compensated enough to satisfy his new lifestyle and medical needs.

Not everyone has the coverage my friend did. Don’t wait until you’re facing a worst-case scenario. Call your agent and make sure you have underinsured/uninsured driver coverage—even if state law does not mandate it.

READ MORE:
Health Insurance Discounts for Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Women’s Health Insurance Coverage
Auto Insurance: How to Avoid a Lemon Car
Homeowners Insurance: Someone Gets Hurt On Your Property
Health Insurance Coverage for Infertility Treatments

Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.

Follow Linda on Twitter.

6 comments

  1. Elvin Aycock, PE says:

    Last summer I was rear-ended by a truck. The accident happened on the Interstate during rush hour. Four lanes of vehicles were braking hard and slowing to a rapid stop. The driver behind me was unable to stop because he did not react in time to stop. He was distracted or just not as alert as the other drivers that made a safe stop. He hit his brakes and locked his wheels, but it too late. If he had braked sooner, he could have avoided the collision into the rear of my car.

    The driver pulled over to the shoulder of the road. We called the police and exchanged information. He was given a traffic violation.

    The other driver and his passenger was not injured. My back was injured and I had to receive treatment.

    You are so correct about emotions that surface at such a time. I remember being so upset. The “what ifs” ran through my mind. What if, someone had been seriously injured or killed? What if, the other driver has not slowed at all and plowed into me?

    My emotional state immediately after the accident surprised me. It surprises me, even today. I am a reconstruction engineer and I reconstruction traffic accident all the time. I see evident of horrible accidents and know that drivers and passengers in those vehicles were injured and killed. I would have thought I would have been mentally prepared for an accident.

    Not so.

    If my accident had been a hit-and-run, I think I would have been even more upset. The driver that hit me did the right thing. He stopped and shared his information with me.

    In my work I get to hear the drivers’ stories about their speed. I reconstruct the accident and determine the true speed they were traveling at the time of the collision. Black Boxes (Event Data Recorders) are installed in vehicles and provide valuable information for reconstruction of vehicle accidents.

    They record five seconds of data prior to a collision such as speed, braking, seat belt use and throttle positions.

    This information is great for drivers that are within the speed limit but bad for the driver traveling above the speed limit.

    The insurance companies I work for want to know the facts. The event data recorder helps provide facts about a vehicle collision.

    • EFX Finance Blog Editor, JF says:

      @Elvin – So sorry to hear about your accident; you were very lucky in your situation. Thanks for reading and commenting. We hope to hear from you on the blog again soon

  2. Su says:

    So, I was also involved in a similar accident as Elvin described. Now, I am not sure how to deal with this person who does not have an insurance and also a license. My insurance is only for liabilities and does not cover anything else. What do I do now? I am in Lexington, Kentucky.

    • LINDA REY says:

      Su, I cannot speak to Kentucky state insurance law by way of what is mandated; but check your policy and confer with your broker if your liability insurance coverage includes “Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist” coverage. This would provide relief where this is none with the other party. If it is not mandated, you should see if you can consider it as an endorsement to the policy to ensure you have the protection.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The most important thing to do once you’ve been involved in a car accident is to remember in detail everything that has happened during the incident, and to gather all the important information you need with the other party. If the accident caused a serious damage with your car, then it is time to hire a lawyer or a company which can take care of the car insurance. My friend once had an accident and she hired a company who provided her with auto insurance in Memphis . Everything worked out well, in all fairness.

  4. JD says:

    I was recently in a hit and run accident slightly different from the accidents mentioned above. However, everything happened so fast that I was unable to get the license plate. As I looked down to get my phone to get their information, the driver zoomed off ridiculously fast. They disappeared into some nearby parking lots. Does anyone know any forums or websites where I can provide a description of the car and driver for my area (Dallas)? Please, all other options have been exhausted.


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Insurance Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter