What Do You Do If Someone Has Hit Your Car and Driven Off?

Getting into a car accident is scary, no matter what the situation may be. The impact can be jarring, the injuries can be painful, and the emotional fallout can be surprisingly intense. Many car accident victims are surprised to find how intense the experience can be.

Hit-and-run accidents amplify these feelings. Without the ability to identify who is at fault, the whole process can be more complicated. Many people find it difficult to get the support and compensation they deserve after a hit-and-run accident, which leaves many people financially and physically vulnerable.

Though there is no sure way to avoid being the victim of a hit-and-run accident, there are steps you can take if you experience one. Understanding how to act in these situations can help protect your case and give you the best chance of receiving the support you deserve.

What Do You Do If Someone Has Hit Your Car and Driven Off?

What Is a Hit and Run?

Before we talk about what to do, it’s important to understand what a hit-and-run accident is. When a driver gets into an accident, they are responsible for stopping and assessing the damage and ensuring everyone involved is alright. Some collisions aren’t serious enough to call the authorities, but drivers should always stop if they hit someone to make sure that they haven’t caused any serious damage. When a driver hits something and then leaves the scene without stopping, the accident is considered a “hit and run.”

In Illinois, a hit and run is categorized as a gross misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of damage and injuries that occur. If someone dies as the result of a hit and run, the responsible party faces a class 2 felony and can receive up to 14 years in prison. In both of these situations, the consequences are reduced or even eliminated if the responsible driver stops to take responsibility and help any victims at the scene. Leaving the scene increases the punishment when the authorities inevitably discover who the driver was.

What to Do If Your Car Is Hit

Sometimes hit and run accidents happen when nobody is in a car. A driver can easily hit a parked car and drive off without leaving their insurance information. If you return to your car and discover that someone hit it and didn’t claim responsibility, you should call the authorities. Tell them what happened, and they can file a police report for your case.

Take extensive photos of the damage at hand before you call your insurance company. Write down the time that you parked your car, the time you found the damage on the car and any weather events (snow, rain, hail) that occurred during the time your car was in its spot. Depending on your policy, your insurance may cover the damages as long as you filed a police report and the official record shows that the accident was a hit-and-run.

What to Do If You Are in the Car

If you’re in the car and experience a hit-and-run, time is of the essence. Unfortunately, the other driver’s negligent actions require you to jump into action as soon as you can.

Your first priority is your health. If you are injured, call 911 right away. If you have symptoms of a head or spinal cord injury, try not to move and have someone else call the authorities if possible.

If your injuries are minor or nonexistent, your first priority is to note what you can about the car. It’s ideal if you can get their license plate number and a description of the driver. However, many people can only recall the color and perhaps the make and model of the car. Note whatever you can. Even if you think you’ll remember, write down everything you see on your phone or on any paper you have on hand. It’s also helpful to note the time and the direction that the car drove.

This all has to occur fairly quickly. You should call the authorities when you’ve written down what you can. They may be able to apprehend the driver if you act quickly enough. If not, their involvement gives you an increased chance of getting a proper settlement for the accident.

Get an Attorney

One of the most important steps after a hit-and-run accident is finding an attorney. Even if the police are involved, you won’t automatically get everything owed to you in your case. The police are not charged with handling insurance companies or pressing charges. It is then up to you to get these things, which can be difficult.

An attorney helps you to explore all avenues of compensation. You may have several options, depending on your situation. For example, if you are severely injured, you may be able to make a personal injury claim to get compensation beyond what insurance companies can provide for you.

Many hit-and-run cases go to court. These cases are often criminal, as the state aims to punish those who don’t follow important traffic laws and who cause damage without regard for human life. If this does occur, you won’t necessarily need to take action. However, an experienced attorney can advise you on how to respond to the changing situation. These cases can easily become overwhelming, and you may be called as a witness if the case goes to trial. Having legal protection is greatly reassuring to most people.

Contact Franks Gerkin Pointz & Greeley

Franks Gerkin Pointz & Greeley is here for you after your Illinois hit-and-run accident. The state takes any collision seriously, but it’s especially for hit-and-run incidents.

If you are harmed by a driver who tries to shirk responsibility for their actions, we can help to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We have extensive experience in this field, and we are well-poised to help you through your case. No matter what the circumstances, we have the expertise to bring about justice. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please reach out to us online.

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