Hit-and-run accidents have been a growing problem in recent years. If a driver strikes another vehicle (occupied or not) and leaves the scene without alerting authorities or exchanging information with the other driver, it is considered a hit-and-run. The reasons for a hit and run incident can vary – not wanting to file an insurance claim, being uninsured or unlicensed, illegal substances or devices in the vehicle, or even the at-fault party attempting to hide from law enforcement for some reason.
In Pennsylvania a vehicle does not have to touch your vehicle to be the cause of an accident, this is known as a phantom driver. An example of a phantom driver would be someone who swerves into your lane causing you to lose control and either, go off the road, slam on your brakes and get rear-ended, or even crash into a barrier, other car, ditch, or anything in your path.
Whether a hit and run caused your accident, or a phantom driver, Pennsylvania state law requires drivers who are involved in an accident to stop. There can be serious consequences if someone chooses to leave the scene of an accident; especially when another driver is involved. Being involved in an accident can be a scary experience, but below are some tips that might help if you’re involved in a hit-and-run situation. The more details you can give to authorities, the better the chances of finding the other driving and holding them accountable.
- Try to stay calm and park your car in a safe spot.
- Immediately call 911 and request police to the scene.
- Tell the police at the scene of the collision, and at any interviews following the collision, about the hit and run or phantom driver and how it caused the collision.
- Seek medical attention right away if necessary.
- Write down as many details as possible – even if you think you can remember them it’s better to have them documented. Important details may include things like the date, time and conditions of the accident; as well as the color, make, model and license plate numbers of the other vehicle and a physical description of the driver if you saw them.
- Attempt to locate witnesses and get their contact information. Witnesses can be crucial in hit-and-run cases.
- Take photos of scene of the accident and your vehicle.
- Only discuss details of the scene with law enforcement.
- When the paramedics, hospital staff and/or doctors ask what happened let them know a phantom driver or a hit and run caused you to lose control.
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with in these types of situations. However, even if the driver of the vehicle is never found they are considered to be uninsured and as such you can recover money for your injuries and damages from your own Insurance Company and or the Insurance Company of the vehicle you were riding in. You should report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as possible, but do not make or sign any formal statements.
There are many exceptions and technicalities to battling Insurance Companies that if you are not aware of could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our PA hit-and-run car accident lawyers are experts when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and will fight aggressively on your behalf to get you or your loved one the compensation you deserve. For more information about what to do following a hit and run accident, call Pisanchyn Law Firm today at 1-800-444-5309. We have offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton and will travel to you.