Hit and Run Accidents and Insurance

Very few people who have been involved in a car accident, no matter how minor, are capable of remaining calm for the vital few moments after the accident has happened. There are a million thoughts that cross their mind – Did I hurt anyone? Is anyone in my car injured?

Only after the car driver has ticked off that basic check list do they begin to worry about their own physical state as well as the damage caused to their car. Although it may only take about thirty seconds it can seem like a very long time. However, those thirty seconds can be vital when the other driver involved in the accident decides to leave the scene, for whatever reason.

Who’s responsible if I’m a victim of a hit and run accident?

Hit and Run and InsuranceThere may be a number of reasons why a driver involved in an accident will rapidly leave the scene without exchanging any details for insurance purposes with none of them being excusable.

Overall it is a very callous act to do as there may be people injured in the other car in need of attention. Leaving the scene of an accident without contacting the authorities is a criminal act in the United States.

By leaving the scene of an accident a driver is more or less automatically regarded as being at fault. However, this should never be taken absolutely for granted. The onus of finding proof will always fall on the person who wants to claim for accident damage. The chances of someone who has left the scene of an accident without exchanging details later trying to submit an insurance claim is very slim indeed, but can happen. That’s why it is of the utmost importance for the person who has been the victim of a hit and run accident to find objective witnesses.

Hit and Run Insurance-What if there is no proof?

In many cases hit and run incidents involve stationary cars. There is no worse feeling than returning to your car to discover that it has been involved in some form of accident, and there is no one around who is prepared to admit responsibility. The first thing to do is keep your head. If the car was parked in the street outside your home or anywhere else don’t be slow in knocking on doors to see if there were any witnesses.

In a lot of cases you might find that a well meaning person would have either witnessed the accident or at least seen the hit and run driver flee the scene. If you find them and they have taken note of their license number you are in a very strong position. In these cases you have to take full details of the witness, as they will probably be asked to appear in court at some time.

If the hit and run accident took place in a car park, either in a shopping mall or airport car park for example, the chances may be that bit slimmer of finding a witness. What can be done, however, is to approach the company who manage the car park to see if they have any close circuit TV cameras that were working in the area at the approximate time when the accident occurred. You will have to move fast on this as these tapes are usually wiped fairly quickly.

If there are no witnesses to be found then the victim of the hit and run accident will need to face their insurers on the strength of their word alone, and with as many details as they can provide. Insurance companies will not be so willing to pay out if they cannot claim against a third party’s insurance and they chances are that the victim of the accident will have no option but to claim against their own insurance. That’s why it is so vital to find witnesses.

What if the driver drove away, only because of an emergency?

Under any circumstance, having an objective witness is a major bonus when it comes to settling the case.

One of the great anomalies when it comes to car insurance is that if the hit and run driver had not committed any crime other than leaving the scene, they may contest your insurance claim, and their insurance company will almost certainly back them up. They may claim that they were under some kind of stress or in shock or any one of a hundred other reasons. In that case it will be their word and against yours and your insurance company against theirs. It will come down to the person who can produce reliable and objective witnesses that will win out in the end.

Final Word On Hit And Run Accidents

Being involved or being a victim of a hit and run driver can be a very harrowing event. Coming out of the experience without any financial damage is only reasonable to expect, as long as you remember that it is not a foregone conclusion. If you were to blame for the accident, even if the driver left the scene, but can later produce witnesses that you were the guilty party, you may have to operate your policy and lose your no claims bonus and pay part of the cost of repair. That’s why it is so important to keep your head, and find witnesses that will speak up for you, if and when the case comes to court.


  Comments: 23

  1. What if I was involved in a hit and run and it wasn’t my fault? I don’t have car insurance, I filed a police report, I have witnesses, and there are surveillance cameras on that street. They towed my car away. My case is still being investigated. Would I receive a penalty for not having insurance even though it wasn’t my fault? And who will pay for my damages? This is in the state of Rhode Island.

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Diana,

      If the police was called to the scene, you may have been cited for driving without a license.As far as your damages go, the police would have to find the other driver first. If they don’t, then unfortunately you’re on your own for the damages. If and when you do find the other driver, you’ll have to hope they have an active insurance policy. At that point you would file a claim through their insurance company and provide the adjuster with all the proofs you have to be covered up to their policy limit. If they don’t have insurance then unless they’re willing to pay for it out of pocket, your only recourse would likely be to sue, which doesn’t guarantee collecting either.

  2. I was in a accident where I hit the person from a intersection which I was in the middle of the 4 way trying to see the oncoming traffic but due to shrubs that blocked viewing I pulled up a little and hit the vehicle that was coming down the road. No damage was done to my car other then my licence plate came off my vehcile. I pulled up to the parking area to move out the way from the intersection so police could be contacted and the vehicle that I hit fleed the scene once the establishment which is a neighborhood bar ( bouncer on scene) told the other driver to go to the parking area so police can speak with us there fleed the scene of the accident. I made a police report and was given a warning since the party left the scene of accident. I didn’t see how many people where in the vehicle nor damage to vehicle but the bouncer did. I recieved a call in reference to the accident and by my insurance with a add on attatchment of the police report of a individual who claimed they were the vehicle I had hit even though I did not get any information at the scene since they left. And was made aware much later after the incident had happened. What can I do in regards to this? Also at the time I was using the UBER forum as a driver on my way to pick up a passenger so my insurance is not taking my claim since I was unaware of rideshare insurance that I needed to add on to my insurance.

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Sorry to hear you’ve found yourself in this situation. The poor visibility due to the shrubs would have helped you in court with any citations issued by the police (which they weren’t), but the accident would have been your fault regardless. Unfortunately, since you advised the insurance company about the accident, it will appear on your report either as at-fault or not-at-fault depending on the details you gave them. The bit about ride-share not being covered is also true and your insurance may even drop you from the coverage for it. Since you’ve admitted fault to your carrier, even if they do find the other person, if their insurance finds out you’ve admitted fault, they won’t cover you. There is such a thing as being too honest, consider how events will play out next time.

  3. In the shopping mall parking somebody hit my car and run and I saw in CCTV camera but i can’t see that car number plate because in Night . I have third party insurance tell me how i claim to insurance

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hello Hasan,

      Unfortunately, third party insurance is just that, to cover damages to a third party resulting from an accident where you are deemed at fault. If you don’t have comprehensive and / or collision coverage, damages to your own car won’t be covered by your own policy. If you were to somehow locate the driver of the other vehicle, then you could try filing a claim through their insurance or have them pay for the damages out of pocket. Although I doubt it, if the damages to your vehicle are severe, you may want to consult with an attorney about the possibility of liability on the mall’s part due to poor lighting or any other reason.

  4. I was on my motorcycle when a car came across three lanes hitting my front tire which flopped my bike down and somehow three me over the handle bars. The driver took off and i was taken by ambulance to the er. My registration was expired and my license wad suspended and that was all chp was focused on; abd apparently not the other driver. I was found not at fault but i didnt have uninsured motorist coverage. What do i do? My injuries were minimal considering what had happened. I had road rash all over my body and tore my rotator cuff and am looking at having to have surgery. Ive been out of work for a month now and my doctor doesnt have any idea how much longer i will be inable to work. I had to pay 500 to get the bike from the tow yard and im losing 700 a week that im not working and am in danger of losing my job alltogether and luckily my medical insurance is covering my medical costs. Im lost as to what to do weve already lost our place to live because we couldnt cover rent without my income.

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Good morning Roy,

      Sorry to hear you were injured. If you can locate the other driver, you can file against their insurance to cover your motorcycle’s damages and any out of pocket medical costs up to their respective limits. Otherwise there’s not much you can do; luckily you do have the medical insurance covering your medical costs which would likely have been substantial. As for your current financial situation, look into your state’s welfare programs and apply for food stamps and unemployment benefits, try to file your case as an emergency for faster processing. Did you have any short-term or long-term disability insurance through your job that you can file a claim against? You may find some relief there. Check your state’s medical leave laws and discuss the situation with your job to avoid losing it while you recover.

      Good luck.

  5. Someone hit me and begged for me not to call his insurance company because he’s a bad driver and that he will cover all the costs, which I also have in txt messages. Now 2 weeks later he has submitted a claim against me stating I hit him, and now both claims are being declined based on able to prove Liability. Can I call this into the Police to file a hit and run?

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hello Kate,

      It wouldn’t help you much to report the accident as a hit and run now, as you both exchanged information before leaving the scene. The best thing to do would have been to call the police while you were both still at the scene and have them write a report of the events, so you would have had proof in the event that a claim was filed. Did you offer to send the insurance company screenshots of your conversation with the other driver? If you did and they still refused to acknowledge liability, your best course of action may be to speak with an attorney about what can be done against the insurer or the other driver. I have seen cases like this before and at the very least the insurer should offer to cover each of your expenses 50 / 50, instead of denying the claim outright.

  6. Someone hit and run on me but when he tuck off he left parts of his car in the seen and his plates felt I dint did a police report because I have no license… what is recommended

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Maria,

      If you have insurance, you can file a claim to cover your damage / injuries up to your policy limits. However, your insurance may require a police report to be filed, to process a hit and run claim. You could also call the police and report the hit and run to try to locate the other driver and have them cover the expenses or file through their insurance. If the police finds out you were driving without a license, you will more than likely be cited / penalized. If your damages are minor, your best course of action may be to have it repaired out of pocket.

  7. Someone hit the front of my truck, bent the steel bumper bar straight up in the air, and kept going. I stayed and made a police report and was rewarded for my diligence with a ticket for failure to yield. The officer said from my story that it seemed like my fault, the system is disgusting.

  8. My husband was hit by someone who was merging. Fortunately, nobody was injured. My husband told the guy to pull into the gas station near the intersection, but instead, the guy drove off without sharing any information. My husband was able to get his license number (which he texted to me on that day, so we have that as a record). My husband filed a police report, the other driver did not. The police tracked down the vehicle, owner, and got an insurance number. But the other driver is refusing to cooperate, and now the insurance company says his number is invalid, we don’t know if that could be because he didn’t pay his premium, the number was reported wrong, or if he just lied about the number (let’s just say this guy isn’t exactly the most trustworthy person). My husband is bristling at paying the large deductible ($1,200) for an accident he didn’t cause, and it isn’t fair to our insurance company to make them pay for someone else’s irresponsibility. Should our insurance company be managing this matter? Should my husband contact the “smash and dash” driver? Would we have to press charges to get him to pay the deductible?

  9. I was in a hit and run accident. I was charged with the accident due to the person going straight and I was turning into the another lane. The person hit my car and left the scene of the accident. The person came back 20 mins later after the police arrived. The office told the person she could have arrested them for leaving the scene of an accident. The officer began to educate the individual about what to do the next time. My thought is I don’t know who was driving that car. But, I spite of that, I was charged without any consequences on the other person’s behalf. I consider this injustice.

  10. Johnathan Drayton

    I was involved in a accident where I clipped the back of a car on my motorcycle but the car never stopped kept going when the officer arrived still gave me a ticket can I fight that in court since the other driver never came back and left the scene

  11. I was involved in a hit and run on 8/5 and I had obtained the license plate number and described the vehicle. The owner of the car canceled their insurance on 8/3. The driver had no license. I filed a police report, had 2 witnesses and filed a claim through my insurance. What are my options if the other party has no coverage? Do I still have to pay my deductible even if I wasn’t at fault?

  12. I was involved in a hit and run & I had called the police & they were able to find the driver. When I contacted his insurance company the adjuster said that it was their client but said we both were at fault because he hit the back of my car with the back of his car & I should have watched for his car. Now I’m looking for a lawyer but it seems like a case No one would take. Is it possible to get a lawyer?

  13. I was in an hit and run. The man had no insurances or a valid drivers license. He left the seen before cops got their plus I had a witness that seen the hole thing an told the cops everything that happened. My car was in the shop for over 2 months so I thought no reason to keep paying for car insurance. After the car was fixed I called to get insurance and found out that I was blamed for the car accident and the man how hit me got payed $2000 to fix the damage to his vehicle now my insurance is sky high , what can I do to fix it??? Because I never got a ticket or anything to go to court how do I go about to fix this??

  14. Enrique m. Monroy

    I was hit last Tuesday at 5:00 to 5:10 in temple city on temple city blvd by a enterprise van driver that is hired by amazon and it was a hit and run driver who was driving an enterprise van I made a police report but they can’t find the exact van because in that business complex they have about 30to40 enterprise bans no one is being helpful so I took it upon myself to do a little detective work I found about 4 vans that had damage where they hit me and I took pictures and videos Amazon is not being too cooperative with me so should I call the news people to find out if they a time sheet of the driver during that van and I’m sure I very van has to be inspected when it comes in the end of the day right. What is your opinion please

  15. My tire fell off while I was driving and hit another car but they drove off and now she wants my insurance to pay for damages am I liable since the person drove off but tire incident wasn’t in the police report

  16. The other night I noticed a scratch on my bumper and the reason why I noticed it is because I always look at my car because there’s a few dings and scratches on it but I don’t like when people scrape up my car and I’m not the one that actually did the damage like I want to make sure that my car is taken care of so I decided to look at my bumper after parking it outside of my mom’s house one night and the next morning I noticed a scratch on my bumper so nobody left a note but the next day I noticed that the neighbors car was parked in the same spot that I was the other night that it was hit and they have scratches on their car in places that I sort of believe that line up with mine so I confronted them and they gave me their insurance so I’m assuming that they really did it sideswiped my car so now I’m wondering if I call their insurance and make a claim or how do I go about this?

  17. my vehicle was hit in my driveway, no note, just came out in the morning and saw the damage, 2300 dollars estimate from my insurance companies place to take it, brand new vehicle. They are now saying that i am at fault for hitting a stationary object after their investigation, what do i do

Your feedback