Hit-and-Run Accidents: Pursuing Justice for Unidentified Drivers

Hit-and-run accidents are among the most frustrating and challenging road incidents anyone can face. The feeling of helplessness when a driver flees the scene, leaving you with injuries, damages, and a myriad of unanswered questions, can be overwhelming. 

However, it’s crucial to remember that victims of such incidents are not powerless. You can often track down the other driver and hold them accountable for their actions with the right legal help. Below, we’ll guide you through the steps to identify the hit-and-run driver and explore your options for pursuing compensation.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

After a hit-and-run accident, it’s important to protect yourself, gather evidence, and lay the groundwork for any legal or insurance claims you may need to pursue. Here’s what to do immediately after your accident:

  • Check for Injuries: First and foremost, assess whether you or any passengers are injured. If there are any injuries, call emergency services immediately.
  • Move to Safety: If the accident is minor and your car is still functional, move it to a safe location, such as the side of the road, to avoid obstructing traffic and further accidents.
  • Call the Police: Even if the accident is minor, it’s crucial to file a police report. This report can be vital when dealing with insurance companies and potential legal proceedings. Describe the incident in detail, including the fact that the other driver fled the scene.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Sometimes, injuries caused by car accidents are not immediately apparent. It’s advisable to see a doctor after the incident, even if you feel fine. This also creates a medical record of your condition immediately following the accident.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurer about the hit-and-run as soon as possible. Depending on your policy, you may be covered under uninsured motorist protection.

Remember, the priority is always safety first. Once you have ensured that you and your passengers are safe, you can proceed with these steps to effectively handle the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident.

The Importance of Identifying Drivers in Hit-and-Run Accidents

If you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run, identifying the other driver should be your top priority after getting to safety and seeking medical treatment. Identification is essential for:

  • Legal Accountability: The driver responsible for a hit-and-run should be held legally accountable for their actions. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in California, and identifying the driver ensures that they face the legal consequences of their actions. 
  • Financial Compensation: Victims of hit-and-run accidents often face significant financial burdens due to medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and potentially lost wages. Identifying the driver is a critical step in seeking compensation through insurance claims or legal action. 
  • Insurance Claims: In order to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance for damages and injuries, the driver must first be identified. 

In short, finding the other driver is crucial to hold them accountable and pursue compensation for your injuries after the crash. 

How to Find Unidentified Drivers

Since the driver in a hit-and-run doesn’t stop to exchange information, it can be hard to track them down. However, modern technology makes the process easier than it used to be. 

The first step to finding the other person is to gather as much evidence as possible immediately after the accident, if possible. This includes:

  • Photos of the scene: Capture your vehicle, the surrounding area, and any skid marks or debris.
  • Witness statements: If there are any bystanders, get their contact information and statements.
  • Surveillance footage: Check if nearby businesses or traffic cameras may have captured the incident.

This evidence can help you track down the other party and make sure they are held responsible for hurting you. 

Furthermore, promptly reporting the accident to the police is vital, not just for your safety, but also to hold the other driver accountable. The official police report can play a crucial role in your case. Law enforcement agencies have resources to conduct a thorough investigation, which might include:

  • Analyzing traffic camera footage.
  • Inspecting debris for vehicle parts or paint that could lead to the fleeing vehicle.
  • Gathering additional witness statements.

In addition, the police may choose to file criminal charges against the driver who left the scene, which can support your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit down the road. 

Legal Steps if the Driver Remains Unidentified

If you can identify the person who hit you, the rest of your car accident claim will proceed normally. However, if you can’t track them down, the process will look a little different. Still, in cases where the driver is not immediately identified, you have options to have your losses covered.

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Most auto insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage, which can also apply to hit-and-run accidents. This coverage can help pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle repairs if necessary. 
  • Collision Coverage: If you have collision coverage as part of your auto insurance, it can be used to cover the cost of repairing your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. However, this coverage typically requires you to pay a deductible.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): If you have it, Personal Injury Protection can cover medical expenses and lost wages up to the policy limit, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

A skilled attorney can help you negotiate with your insurance to receive the funds you need to recover after your accident. 

Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer After Your Hit-and-Run Crash

Hit-and-run accidents are traumatic, but there are pathways to justice and compensation. By taking immediate action to gather evidence, reporting to law enforcement, and understanding your insurance coverage, you lay the groundwork for a strong case. 

With the support of a skilled personal injury lawyer, you can navigate the legal complexities to seek the compensation you deserve. We encourage you to schedule a consultation with Fiore Achermann to discuss your hit-and-run accident and learn how we can help you identify the other driver and recover the damages you’re owed.