An accident is enough to ruin your day, but a hit-and-run accident can make a bad day even worse. Whether the driver speeds off when you request his insurance information or hits you and then leaves the scene, a hit-and-run can make it difficult to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
This isn’t the end of the road. You have several options for dealing with irresponsible drivers who leave the scene of an accident.
Get All the Information You Can
Even a small bit of information can help you track down the driver who hit you. The most valuable information is a license plate. Try snapping a photo or quickly writing down the number. Even a partial plate is better than no information at all. Coupled with a description of the vehicle that hit you, a license plate number can be just the ticket and help you track down the culprit.
If you see the person who hit you, jot down a description of him/her, too. This way police can determine whether the owner of the car was the driver. In some cases, hit-and-runs are the result of stolen vehicles or someone other than the owner driving the car.
Talk to Witnesses
Most people are eager to help others. If other drivers pull over to help you or ask about the accident, ask them if they saw anything. Witnesses occasionally see details about the car that the victim doesn’t, and you may even find that a witness was able to capture a full or partial plate number. Write down e-mail addresses and phone numbers for each witness, in case you or the police need to contact them with additional questions.
Call the Police
If you’ve been in a hit-and-run, a police report is the best and safest way to document the accident, and calling the police may even help you locate the driver. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, and Colorado has enacted a new law to combat the practice. Called the Medina Alert Bill, the law is named after Jose Medina, a man killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Under the new law, police can issue alerts similar to Amber Alerts to help locate hit-and-run drivers. They also use media and other means to get the word out about a vehicle and/or driver that has fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident.
This allows them to quickly locate drivers by coordinating strategies with other law enforcement officers and sharing information with the general public. Officers may even publish information on highway signs. In most cases, they only do this if someone is severely injured or killed, but you should report even the most minor hit-and-run incidents. This enables police to track down frequent offenders.