Getting into a car accident with another driver is never a pleasant experience, especially when it is likely to be a complete stranger. However, what makes matters even worse is when that stranger flees the scene, leaving you to deal with the accident alone.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. When involved in an accident, the driver of a vehicle should immediately stop and exchange driver information with the other party. In some states, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident can be charged as a misdemeanor involving property damage or a felony involving injury or death.
At Liberty Collision, we see it all the time; customers bring in their damaged vehicles and are in even more despair because the culprit didn’t follow the law of staying at the accident scene. We understand how frustrating an unexpected accident can be, so we also want to make sure you know what to do if your car is damaged in a hit-and-run collision.
Step #1: Call the police to file a report
We know this may seem like common sense; however, some drivers may feel like, “What’s the point of calling the police for help? The other driver is long gone.” There is a point; you definitely want official documentation of the incident at the scene by a police officer. Just because the other driver fled the location does not mean you cannot report it to your insurance company to repair the damages. Have a report written up so your car can be fixed by submitting the report to file a claim with the insurance carrier you pay monthly. So after you have an official accident report, be sure to request a copy for your insurance claim. You also want to know and note the name and badge number of the officer assisting you after the collision.
If an officer cannot make it out to assist you, make sure you file an incident report yourself online through the local police department’s website. No matter what, file an incident report to have documentation of your car damage.
Step #2: Collection as much information as possible
Information is power! The more information you have, the more details you will have to submit to your insurance company to file a claim for damages. After a car collision where the other driver is not present, you want to pull as much information as possible from your surroundings. If people are present, ask if they saw the collision — they may be able to identify the color or make of the other vehicle. Also, if there are establishments around, walk into surrounding businesses and ask if they have security cameras that may have recorded the accident involving the fleeing driver.
Here’s a list of photos you should take after an accident:
1. Take in-depth pictures and videos of the damage your car sustained. Be sure to capture the positioning of your vehicle on the street or in the parking space.
2. Photograph any other damage at the scene like –debris, skid marks on the road, or other cars also involved in the collision.
3. You can never have enough photos! Take pictures of landmarks and signage that depict the location of the accident. Especially if you are at a place you have never been to before. It will be harder to recollect your surroundings days after the accident.
Write down as much information as possible before you leave the scene: location of the incident, the date and the time of day, the weather conditions, how long your car was parked there, etc.
Step #3: File a claim with your insurance company
Insurance is paid monthly just in case you are involved in an accident.
Insurance is a way of managing risks. When you pay for insurance, you transfer the cost of a potential loss to the insurance company in exchange for a fee, known as the premium. Auto insurance is also a legal requirement. So you have it; use it!
Even if you are the only driver present and the accident was no fault to you. Always call your insurance company after an accident, even after a hit and run involving your parked car. You’ll then rely on your insurance coverage to cover the cost of the damage, so make sure you have the proper insurance in case of a hit-and-run. Collision coverage will typically help cover the cost of repairs. However, check your coverage to see if you will have to pay a deductible.
If you have ever been involved in a hit and run, whether you were driving in your car or it was parked when the accident happened, we understand your frustration and disappointment. While it is everyone’s choice to obey the law and act in good conscience, at Liberty Collision, we will always do right by you in repairing your vehicle.
If you are in the Reno area, bring your damaged car in for an inspection and let us fix it as close as we can back to its original condition.
Unfortunately, accidents happen, and there’s nothing we can do about the actions of other drives. However, what we can control is where we send our vehicles after a collision. You can trust your car will be in good hands at Liberty Collision.