I Was the Victim of a Hit and Run, Now What?
By Courtney Leigh Winston, Trial Attorney with the Pendleton Law Team
A hit and run occurs when two or more people are involved in an accident and someone drives off before the police respond to the scene.
If this happens to you, collect as much information about the other driver and the other car as you can. This includes the license plate number and state, a description of the other car (year, make, model, and color), the direction the other car was headed, and a description of the driver, if possible. If there was visible damage to the other car, also make a note of that. Other relevant information includes the location and time of the accident, as well as how the accident occurred. The more details that you can provide to the police, the better.
What are the 5 Things to do in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
1. Stay on scene and call the police. Ask the responding officer to write an official report and give you the report number. In Virginia, hit and run is a criminal offense that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the amount of damage to your car. Tell the responding officer that you are interested in pursuing civil and criminal charges.
2. Don’t forget to take pictures, if you’re able. This includes pictures of the fleeing car, the driver, the scene where the hit and run took place, and the damage to your car.
3. If there are witnesses to the hit and run, also get their names and phone numbers, too. Ask if the witnesses are willing to stay on scene to talk to the police or if it’s okay for the police to contact them if they can’t stay.
4. Make sure to call your insurance company to file a claim as soon as you can. Pictures will be important for this part of the process, too, because your insurance company may ask about the damage to your car and where the hit and run took place.
5. Finally, save all of your receipts including any and all out-of-pocket expenses. Your insurance company may be able to get your reimbursed for needing a rental car or other charges related to the hit and run. If you do decide to pursue criminal charges, it is important to have a record of the cost of repairs.