Leaving the scene of a car crash is illegal, but some drivers flee in panic or in an effort to evade responsibility for their actions. Once you understand how to report a hit and run and take the necessary steps following the collision, you might be able to recover compensation for your losses even if the driver is not found. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave are experienced in handling these types of claims and might be able to help you recover compensation.
How to Report a Hit and Run
Under M.R.S. § 577.060, it is illegal to leave the scene of a car collision in Missouri. If a hit-and-run crash results in an injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000, it is a felony offense. Despite the law, some people still flee the scene of an accident in order to evade responsibility. There are several steps that you should take if another driver hits you and then flees the crash scene. Taking these steps may help you preserve your legal rights and can potentially help to catch the driver.
Call 911 immediately.
After a hit and run, you should immediately call 911 to report it. Stay at the scene and wait for the police to arrive. If there are others who are injured, provide first aid to them. Tell the officers what happened once they arrive, and make sure to get a copy of the police report from the police station when it is ready for you.
Write down information about the other vehicle.
While you are still at the scene and are waiting for the police, it is a good idea for you to document as much as possible about the other vehicle and the collision. Write down the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle if you were able to get it. You should also write down the color of the vehicle and anything that was distinguishing about it such as bumper stickers, dents, or rust spots.
Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and of the scene where the accident happened. You should try to take as many pictures as possible of important details such as skid marks on the road, traffic control devices, speed limit signs, and debris in the roadway. You should also write down as much as you can remember about the collision and what happened leading up to it. If you were able to see the other driver, write down information about what he or she looked like using as much detail as possible.
Get the names and contact information of witnesses.
You should look around the scene for anyone who might have witnessed the accident. Try to get names and contact details for each witness, and encourage the witnesses to wait for the police so that they can tell the officers what they saw.
Report the accident to your insurance company.
In Missouri, all drivers must carry uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. The minimum required amounts are $25,000 for bodily injury or $50,000 per crash if several people were injured. It is a good idea for you to talk to your insurance company about getting UM/UIM coverage in higher amounts so that your losses will be covered if you are ever involved in a hit-and-run crash or a collision with a driver who has no insurance or who is underinsured.
When you are involved in a hit and run in Missouri, you should call your insurance company as soon as possible to report it. In this situation, your own insurance company steps into the shoes of the hit-and-run driver’s insurance company if he or she is not caught. Your claim for the collision will be filed with your own insurance company if the other driver is not found. Even though you are filing a claim against your own policy with your insurance company, your premiums will not increase. If another driver is responsible for the collision, your premiums will not be affected.
Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking your insurance company will be on your side. By stepping into the shoes of the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they will vigorously defend the at-fault driver. With the assistance of your attorney, you will need to prove liability and your resulting injuries.
Make sure to get medical attention.
You should always get medical attention after a car crash. There are certain types of injuries that might not immediately show symptoms. Getting prompt medical attention can help to identify injuries that were caused by the collision. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible afterward can also provide a clear link between the collision and your injuries. If you wait to seek medical care, your insurance company may try to claim that your injuries were caused by something other than the collision.
Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave.
After you have filed a report with the police, sought medical attention, and reported the hit and run to your insurance company, the next step that you should take is to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave understand how to handle UM/UIM claims and can seek fair compensation for you. Call us today at 417-322-2222 or request a free quote review online to learn about the rights that you might have.