A ‘hit and run’ is when the driver at fault leaves the road traffic accident (RTA) scene without stopping or providing their insurance details. This is illegal.
If you have been a victim of a hit and run car accident, here are three things you should do in simple, practical steps:
Contact the Emergency ServicesIn the first instance, you should call the emergency services. If it’s safe, try and record the car details of the driver at fault (a camera phone is best and make sure the date/time feature is switched on and correct), or get eye witness accounts of the accident, so you can give them to the emergency services and your insurer. But only if it’s safe to do this. Do not put yourself at risk!
You will need a crime number and a police report, as you will be unable to claim on your insurance without these. So make sure you lodge a formal case at the police station, as soon as you can. If you have been injured you must report the accident within 14 days to the police or as soon as is reasonably possible in the event the other driver is not insured or cannot be identified and the any claim fails to be dealt with by the Motor Insurers Bureau.
Once you have done this, contact your insurer as soon as possible to process your insurance claim. Be sure to make copies of everything your insurer asks for. If possible, create a file, so that you have everything about your accident in one place.
Even if you have not been taken to hospital, you should still book an appointment to see your doctor to get an accurate assessment of any injuries you may have sustained.
At this point, you may wish to appoint a specialist Car Accidents Solicitor to represent your interests. In the meantime, do not repair or do anything to your car until advised by your Solicitor or insurance agent.
Processing your Insurance Claim
If the driver at fault leaves a road accident scene without providing their contact or insurance details, they may still be traced via CCTV or other means. If they are unable to trace the driver, you may be able to pursue your car accident claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), an organisation that compensates the victims of uninsured and untraced motorists. For more information see MIB and Untraced Drivers.
When you submit your claim to your insurer, they will ask for the police report and crime number. As it is a hit and run, they will also start the process of tracing the driver at fault. If they are unable to trace the driver, they will process your claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau.
Your insurer will need to prove to the MIB that:
- The hit and run driver was negligent
- As a result of the negligence, you and other occupants of your car sustained injuries.
It is difficult to predict how long it will take to process your claim with the MIB, as each case is different. Similarly, it is also difficult to predict the value of your compensation as it is meant to reflect the financial loss and the impact of the injuries you sustained from the accident on your quality of life. By and large, it will be guided by the medical expert’s assessment of your injury. The best thing to do while your claim is being processed is to record all activity and information related to your case in your ‘accident file’. Be diligent about this.
Appointing a Solicitor
If you decide to appoint a Solicitor to act on your behalf, it is advisable to do this as soon as possible after the accident.
What to Expect from a Personal Injury Solicitor
At the very least:
- Your Personal Injury Solicitor should have expertise in road traffic accident claims. Being a victim of a car accident can be an incredibly stressful. Your Personal Injury Solicitor’s objective should be:
- To minimise all disruption to your life;
- If possible, aid your rehabilitation process by securing interim payments for you, while your claim is being processed
- And last, aim to get the maximum compensation for yours and your occupants’ injuries. One that reflects the true impact of the car crash on your lives.
It may sound like an impossible task, but a specialist Car Accidents Solicitor should be able to secure these for you.
Nobody hopes to be involved in, or be a victim of a hit and run car accident. But in the event this happens, this three-point guide gives enough practical information regarding your next steps.