When you are injured in a hit and run accident, you not only must cope with your injuries and lost wages, but you have added challenges in obtaining compensation from the driver who hit you. Unfortunately, you must first locate him. What if you cannot find him? Are you out of luck in terms of compensation? Here we discuss some of the unique problems in hit and run accidents and possible ways to solve them.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Scene of a Wreck?
In Texas, as well as the rest of the country, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without first exchanging contact information with the other driver or waiting for the police to arrive. Sadly, this is precisely what occurs in a hit and run crash. The negligent driver gets scared and flees. Drivers do this for a variety of reasons including:
- The driver was intoxicated due to alcohol or drug consumption.
- The driver did not have the required vehicle insurance.
- The driver did not have permission from the owner to drive the vehicle.
- The driver stole the vehicle.
- The driver had no driver’s license or was driving when his license was suspended.
- The driver had too many tickets and was afraid of getting another one.
- The driver was driving a company-owned vehicle and didn’t want his employer to find out about the crash.
- The driver had outstanding warrants for his arrest.
- The driver was in the country illegally.
- The driver was transporting drugs or stolen goods.
Importance of Making a Police Report
Even if the other driver flees the scene, you should call the police. You will need the report for your insurance company when you make a claim for your vehicle repairs and for your injuries under your uninsured motorist coverage.
In addition, making a police report could help in your efforts to locate the other driver. While the police will not make a property damage only claim a priority, they may investigate your accident if you suffered more serious injuries and could actually locate the negligent driver for you.
Other Ways to Locate the Hit and Run Driver
You have other options for locating the driver when the police are unable to do it for you. Consider these possible avenues that could identify the driver or point to leads:
- Eye witnesses. A person who stopped to help or witnessed the accident could have jotted down the license plate number or provide a description of the car or the driver. You may even get the police to conduct a more thorough investigation of your accident if they are provided with this information.
- Checking with businesses and homes. You—or a family member or friend if you are unable to—can go door-to-door to businesses and homes near the crash scene to find other witnesses who could provide any information regarding the vehicle or driver. If the driver was from the neighborhood, someone may have recognized him.
- Video surveillance. Ask businesses to check their surveillance tapes to see if their camera taped the crash. This can both help locate the driver and provide evidence of his negligence.
- Department of motor vehicles. If you obtain a license plate number through your investigation, you may be able to obtain the driver’s name and address through a search with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Why You Still Need an Attorney If You Cannot Locate the Driver
You still have options if you cannot locate the other driver, and you will need an experienced car accident attorney’s help. An attorney can assist you in filing a claim and negotiating a settlement—not easy, even with your own insurance company. In addition, he may have other suggestions for locating the missing driver.
Were you or a family member hurt in a hit and run accident? Fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.