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What Should You Do If You Are The Victim Of A Hit And Run?

for Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Beyond

Oct 20, 2015

A car crash is scary and frustrating, but things are even worse if the other driver speeds away instead of stopping to take responsibility for his or her actions. Knowing what to do in the event of a hit and run accident can help you keep your cool and make the right decisions. Here’s what you should know.

Hit And Run Crashes In Florida

Unfortunately, hit and run crashes are a serious problem for Florida drivers. In 2014 there were over 80,000 hit and run crashes and fatal hit and run crashes rose by 23%.  The penalties for those who leave the scene of an accident are very severe, so if you are in an accident, you should always stay at the scene.

Although you can’t always prevent yourself from being the victim of a hit and run accident, there are steps you can take to handle the situation in the best way possible.

What To Do At The Scene Of The Crash

Knowing what to do at the scene of a car accident is important. If the accident was a hit and run, things will be a little different than an accident where the drivers all stay to take responsibility for their actions.

At the scene of the car crash, you should first make sure that everyone in your vehicle is safe, if someone has been injured, call 911 immediately and follow the instructions given by the dispatcher. In most cases, you should not move anyone, but you may be able to stop or slow bleeding.

Never chase after the vehicle that hit you. This is dangerous and could make it much harder to file a police report or insurance claim. Instead, take a photo of the vehicle if possible, and try to remember everything you can. Write down everything you can think of about the vehicle—the color, make, model, license plate number, and any identifying features such as stickers in the windshield, dents in the body, or off-road tires. If you caught a glimpse of the driver, write down anything you can remember about them.

If no one is injured, you should still call your local police station. They can send an officer to assess the situation and create a police report. Filing a police report will increase the chances of the other driver being held responsible, but it will also make the insurance claim easier, since you can give your insurance agent the police report number for reference.

Write down the time and location of the accident. If you can remember clearly, it may be wise to make a small sketch of what happened at the accident.

Look around for witnesses and ask them if they remember anything about the car that hit you. Ask them to give you or the police officer their contact information. Your insurance agency may want to contact them after you file the claim and they may be able to help the police track down the other driver.

Before leaving or moving your car, take pictures to show the damage your car sustained, and take wider photos of the scene to help you and others clearly understand what happened during the accident. Pictures are especially helpful if there was paint transfer from the other vehicle to your car during the crash. When you file an insurance claim, you may be required to demonstrate that your car was hit by another vehicle and that you didn’t hit a tree, pole, or other stationary object. This is often required to prevent fraudulent claims.

What To Do When You Return Home

If the other driver is identified, their insurance company will be responsible for handling the claim. However, if they are not identified, or if they don’t have insurance, you’ll need to rely on your own auto insurance coverage.

Once you return home, you should contact Bradenton Insurance or your insurance company directly. You’ll need to answer a number of questions about the event and the sooner you call, the easier it will be to clearly remember what happened. Refer to the notes and photos you took at the scene of the accident.

What happens next will depend on your specific auto insurance policy and the amount of coverage you have. Since these accidents are unfortunately common in Florida, it is wise to carry coverage that will protect you should this ever happen. In some cases, uninsured motorist coverage is used to pay for the damage. In other situations, the damage will be covered by collision coverage, personal injury protection, or medical payments coverage.

If you want to learn more about how your claim will be handled, contact us. This would also be a good time to increase your coverage—a few extra dollars a year could save you thousands in the event of an accident.

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