Can you claim for a hit and run accident?

A hit and run can be the most upsetting type of car accident.

When you have an accident, you typically have the opportunity to find out what happened and why you were hit when you and the other party stop to exchange details.

However, when you’re involved in a hit and run, you’re deprived of this chance. You are left to deal with the incident on your own, even though you were not the one who caused it.

So what should you do after becoming the victim of a hit and run?

Stopping after an accident

The reasons for the person responsible to drive off without stopping could be varied. They may have been speeding, they may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol or they may have been driving illegally or without insurance. But whatever the reason, it’s an offence not to stop the car after the accident.

Which? advises drivers to stop their car after an accident, to call the police and to take the details of any other drivers or witnesses. If you were involved in a car accident in which the offending party did not stop, you have been the victim of a hit and run.

This is true whether you were in a vehicle, on a bike or a pedestrian. Whatever your method of transport, if someone hits you while driving, they are required by law to stop. They have to stop whether or not any property was damaged or anyone was hurt.

What to do after a hit and run

Although it’s a highly shocking and stressful moment when you are hit and the person responsible then doesn’t stop, there are a few things you should do immediately to help yourself later on. Stop as soon as you have been hit. If possible, get the car’s number plate and make, model and colour. Note these down as soon as you can.

It will also help if you remember which direction the car was travelling. Don’t forget to make a note of the date and time of the accident too, as well as where it took place. Call the police as soon as you safely can. The sooner you contact them, the greater the chance they have of finding the person responsible. If you or someone you were travelling with has been injured, call for medical help too.

You can also take photographs of the damage or injury, if you can. Then call your insurer. They can advise you on what to do at that moment.

What not to do

Just as there are things you should do after a hit and run, there are a number of things you should not do – regardless of how angry or frustrated you are. The most important of these is not to follow the person responsible.

This could leave you unable to obtain witness details, which could make it far less likely that you’ll have a strong case if you then decide to pursue legal action or an insurance claim. It also means that the police will view you as just as responsible for what happened as the driver who didn’t stop.

If you’ve had to pull over on the hard shoulder of a motorway, you should also not stay in the car. Get out and move away somewhere safer. It’s best to get behind the barrier if possible. This will help to keep you as safe as possible while waiting for assistance.

It’s also not advisable to do nothing after being the victim of a hit and run. You can, of course, pursue an insurance claim to cover the cost of the damage to your vehicle. However, if you have suffered an injury, you are entitled to compensation.

You don’t have to let the person responsible get away with hurting you and then running away.

Image copyright: Kwangmoozaa