What to do if you are the victim of a “hit and run”
Unfortunately, “hit and runs” do occur. Sometimes the driver is drunk and doesn’t want to be charged with basic DUI, or felony DUI (driving drunk while causing serious injury or death carries a 20 year sentence). Or perhaps the driver is a frightened illegal immigrant, or a person with a warrant for their arrest who wants to avoid arrest. There are many reasons people “hit and run.” What to do:
- Get a license plate number if possible;
- Collect pieces of the hit and run driver’s car at the scene;
- Identify witnesses at the scene
- Call police immediately
There are many instances in which “hit and run” drivers are found. When found, their insurance carrier will not only be responsible for property damage and bodily injury. Some amount should be paid for “punitive damage” exposure, the amount a jury would award due to the person’s bad behavior.
If the hit and run driver cannot be found, take photographs of the damages to your vehicle, obtain a police report, and file for uninsured motorist coverage. This is called a “John Doe” UM claim. If you are run off of the road, and there is no property damage from the other vehicle, then you must obtain an affidavit from an independent witness as to what happened in order for your UM claim to proceed.