A hit-and-run is the last thing anyone wants to be involved in, but knowing exactly what to do, even if the likelihood of needing that knowledge isn’t certain, can go a long way and help to alleviate the stressful situation should you ever find yourself in it. If you or someone you know has a fender bender or a similar traffic collision — and the offender drives away — refer to this list to make sure you have all your bases covered.
Calmly Pull Over
To avoid further damage, calmly pull over to the side of the road and assess the damage. Whatever you do, do not pursue the driver who hit you. As frustrating as it is to be left with the damage, you should remain calm and focus on your own safety and contacting anyone else who can help.
Contact the Authorities
Once you have parked the car after the accident, you should call the police immediately. Even if you think you don’t have adequate information, you should still call the authorities. Failing to do so can cause insurance companies to take longer with your claims or deny them altogether. If you can, try to get the accident report number from a law enforcement official in order to speed up the claims process.
After a hit-and-run, you might find it helpful to take a few pictures. This will help you properly assess the damage that’s been done. Make sure they’re quality photographs from various angles that will provide as much evidence as possible. If you can safely inspect the vehicle at the crash site, try to take pictures before you move it.
Talk to Witnesses
Making small talk is probably the last thing you want to be involved in, but it could help in the long run. If there are witnesses who can report on what happened during the accident, get their contact information and the details of what they saw (which could include a license plate number). This may add validity to your claim and help you out in the end.
File a Claim
After you file the police report, call your insurance company to file your claim. In doing this, you may find coverage you didn’t know you qualified for and have your car repaired. If you don’t have coverage, then you at least have the accident on record. To file your claim, the company may ask for the names of drivers involved, contact information of both parties, policy numbers, make and model of the vehicles, photographic evidence, a brief description of the accident, and if there were any witnesses.
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