Watching a hit-and-run is an experience that can be frightening for anyone, especially if it happens to you. While it’s often easy to get caught up in the moment and feel helpless, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
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Typically, when someone is involved in a car accident, both drivers will stop and exchange information, including insurance details and driver’s license numbers. This helps ensure everyone has the same information and prevents any confusion in the event of a future incident.
In the case of a hit and run, however, one of the parties will leave the scene of the accident without offering any information or assistance. This is considered a criminal offense and can lead to serious consequences.
In a typical car accident, both drivers are required to stop, provide identification, and render aid if they are injured or have damaged property. Failure to do so can be a criminal offense, and it can affect both your personal and professional lives.
Even if the damage is minimal, you should still call the police and file an official accident report to help them find the missing driver later on. Besides important facts like the location, date, and time of the crash, you can also include witness statements and any contact information.
If possible, try to get the make and model of the car that was involved in the collision. This will help limit the pool of suspects and make it easier for the police to investigate.
Moreover, it’s also important to take pictures of the car and any skid marks. This can be very helpful for your own insurance company and the police if you decide to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.
Once you’ve called the police, you should make detailed notes about the accident. These notes should cover the make and model of the vehicle, how it was damaged, where the accident occurred, and what identifying details you can recall from the driver or their vehicle.
Additionally, you should look for any witnesses to the crash who may have seen the other party’s vehicle or a person fleeing the scene. If you can’t locate any eyewitnesses, ask if any business or residence has surveillance cameras.
Another option is to try to get information from the other parties’ insurance providers. Many policies have a clause that states that the insured must report any accident to their insurance company within a certain amount of time or face exclusion.
If you’re not sure how to go about reporting a hit and run, talk to your auto insurance agent. They can advise you on what steps to take, and if there is a need for any additional evidence.
It’s important to remember that hit-and-run laws vary from state to state. In New York, for example, the penalties are much more severe. This is because a misdemeanor conviction can carry fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail, while felony convictions can result in the revocation of the motorist’s driving privileges.