I am a Hit and Run Auto Accident Victim — What Should I Do Next?

hit and run auto accidentHere’s an account of a situation that happens all too often on the roads: “I was in my car at a complete stop during heavy traffic when something struck me from behind and rammed my car into the back of the car in front of me. While I was recovering from the shock of what just happened I looked into my rear-view mirror and saw to my dismay the large, commercial truck that hit me was backing up and fleeing the scene.”  (Name withheld for privacy.)

People who cause an accident may flee the scene in hopes of escaping the consequences of property damage and injuries. You can most likely sympathize with this person because you know what an anguishing experience it can be to watch the driver who hit you drive away without facing the consequences. If another motorist crashes into your car and flees the scene you might think that there is nothing you can do to recover damages for your injuries, but that is not the case. If you are working with a good personal injury attorney, he/she can investigate the accident, speak to witnesses and try to find the negligent party on your behalf.

What you can do next

Immediately following the accident, if your injuries are not too severe, try to take a picture of the scene and the damage to your vehicle after you have called the police. It is never a good idea to try to pursue the hit-and-run driver. If you can, take down the license plate number of the vehicle, and talk to witnesses to find out what they saw and make a note of it. Be sure to contact a Tennessee car accident attorney as soon as you can. In the interim, the Underinsured and Uninsured motorist coverage portion of your car insurance policy may help cover the property damage and personal injuries you might have suffered from the accident.

It is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident. If the authorities catch the negligent driver, he/she will be subject to criminal prosecution. However, if the driver does not have insurance or the personal resources to pay for the damages, your insurance company treats it like an uninsured motorist claim. So, whether or not the police can catch the driver who caused the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your losses.