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What to Do when The Other Driver Flees the Scene of An Accident

R. Mark Maritote May 24, 2018

When you are about to crash, it often seems like everything is moving too fast. After impact, things start to slow down. You realize your hands are trembling. Your hot coffee is now splattered all over the car’s interior. The front of your car looks like a mess. But you are alive. As you consider that incredible stroke of luck, you see the other driver pull away. You stare in disbelief and realize you have just been involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Make sure you are fine physically

Before you start to panic, take a breath. Do not consider following the car. Evaluate whether you are bleeding, feel pain, or are experiencing any numbness. Your injuries could be severe or minor, but sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. If you think you may need medical attention, that should be your first phone call. Even if your injuries do not seem severe, you might want to get checked out by a medical professional. Not all injuries are immediately apparent.

Call the police and photograph the scene

After you decide whether medical care is needed, you should call the police. If you are feel able, you should photograph your vehicle and the accident scene. If there are other people present, ask them if they saw what happened. Get their contact information for future reference. Try to remember everything you can about the other car and driver. Give all this information to the police.

Report the accident to your insurance

You will also need to report this accident to your insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance company will not just accept your word that you were in a hit-and-run accident. The company will likely request a copy of the accident report from the police officer. In Illinois, you must purchase uninsured motorist coverage after a hit-and-run accident. That way if the driver is not located, you will not incur an unfair amount of debt from the accident. Before you file a claim with your insurance company, you may consider contacting an attorney who can work with the insurance company to ensure you receive just compensation.

If the person who fled the accident scene is located, he or she faces a felony charge with up to 15 years in prison or fines up to $20,000. You may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent party to pursue punitive damages.