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What Should You Do After a Hit and Run Car Accident in Williamsport, PA?

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Each year, thousands of drivers find themselves victim to a hit and run car accident on the roadways or in a parking lot. When the initial shock ends, victims are left in battles with the insurance company, mounting medical expenses, and property damage. Knowing what to do after a hit and run car accident in Williamsport can be critical to the success of your personal injury claim.

A Williamsport car accident lawyer at Munley Law can guide you through the next steps if you were involved in a hit and run accident.

What is a Hit and Run Car Accident?

What should you do after a hit and run car accident in Williamsport, PA?A hit and run accident is a collision involving a car, pedestrian, or piece of property where one driver flees the scene, leaving the victim without information to contact them for the next steps. Hit and run accidents differ from other automobile accidents because the victim must utilize their auto insurance alone to recoup damages.

Typically, this involves uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage, but victims of a hit and run accident should contact their insurance provider immediately after the accident to learn what collision coverage they hold.

What Are the Types of Hit and Run Accidents?

We often think of hit and runs as collisions at an intersection where one driver speeds off, never to be seen again. But there are multiple types of hit and runs that can occur.

  • Attended Vehicle: You are hit by a car while inside your vehicle
  • Unattended Vehicle: Your car is hit while you are not inside it, such as a parking lot fender bender or a dent in your car door
  • Property Damage Only: Your property, such as a mailbox, fence, etc., is hit by a driver, but they did not stay to offer their information.

What Steps Should You Take Following a Hit and Run?

If you are involved in a hit and run collision, there are several steps you should take to ensure your rights are protected. This includes calling the authorities, gathering evidence, filing an official police report, seeking medical attention, and contacting your insurance provider.

Stop and Call 911

Following a hit and run accident, emotions will be running high. This can cause you to panic and forget the logical first steps for a car accident. Take a deep breath and remain calm, stop your car, and move to a safe location if possible. Check yourself for injuries and any passengers you may have. Then call 911. When you call the police, they will dispatch an officer and likely medical personnel to you.

Do not follow the fleeing driver and wait for help to arrive.

Don’t Follow a Driver Who Flees the Scene

Following the fleeing driver is never a good idea. First, you risk being involved in another collision by engaging in reckless driving practices. Second, you do not know the mental state of the driver–are they dangerous, intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs? All these factors can place you in a vulnerable position that isn’t worth risking.

While you shouldn’t follow the hit and run driver, there are things you can do to preserve your claim with the insurance company and to provide to the police.

You can take pictures of the car that hit you, gathering information like the license plate number, car make and model, color, etc. In some cases, you may also see what the driver looks like, which you can also provide to the authorities for their investigation.

Again, do not do anything that puts you or your passengers in danger–it’s not worth it.

Gather Evidence at the Accident Scene

If you are a hit and run victim, there are pieces of evidence you should try to collect for your insurance claim. This includes photos of property damage you sustained, eyewitness accounts, videos, etc.

Be sure to exchange information with any witnesses, as this will likely be needed for your accident claim.

Speak to the Police

When police arrive at the scene, they will want to know everything that happened. But this doesn’t mean you tell them what you think happened. Only give them facts of what occurred. If you have any details about the other vehicle involved or the missing driver, share them with the police.

Be sure to ask for an official accident report; you will need this when filing your insurance claim.

Even if emotions are high, be patient. In hit and run collisions, there is only so much that can be done right away, so you’ll need to keep calm and work with the authorities and the insurance company.

Go to the Hospital

Even if you think you are fine, you should seek medical attention. Not all injuries appear right away, and some can be quite severe.

While getting checked out, keep a detailed log of any medical treatment you receive and ask for copies of your medical records related to the accident. If you have medical bills from the accident, you will need to be able to prove it for the claims process.

Contact Your Insurance Company

You must first contact your car insurance company to file a claim for your hit and run accident. Much like speaking with police, only provide facts of what occurred–not what you think happened. Much of what occurs now will be taking basic information and reviewing your applicable insurance policy.

The claims process will take time and can often become frustrating as the insurance company will try to minimize compensation. This is where it can help to have a Williamsport PA hit and run accident lawyer by your side.

Who Pays My Bills Following a Hit and Run Accident?

hit and run car accident attorney in Williamsport, PATypically, in a car accident claim, your insurance company would provide compensation for your losses. Then, you could file a claim against the at-fault driver for anything in excess. But in a hit and run accident, your auto insurance is your only source of compensation for damages.

Under Pennsylvania law, drivers must carry first-party benefits coverage or personal injury protection (PIP).

Mandatory PIP coverage requires drivers to carry a minimum of $5,000 in benefits. However, drivers have the option to add more coverage to their policies. PIP only applies to medical payments coverage–not property damage. So, under your PIP coverage, you can collect compensation for disability, rehab costs, and death benefits. Higher amounts of coverage may also cover lost wages.

Drivers can also add uninsured motorist coverage, which is not a state requirement.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

While you have auto insurance and the minimum amount of personal injury protection, you do not have to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage–but there are benefits to doing so.

Uninsured motorist coverage covers you, your family, and any passengers hurt in a hit and run accident or an accident with an uninsured driver. However, it does not cover your property damage.

If you can track down the hit and run driver and it turns out they do not have enough car insurance coverage, you may still have options for recovery if you have underinsured motorist coverage. These policies apply the same way but work to recoup the difference that the at-fault driver cannot cover with their bodily injury coverage.

What Compensation Can I Recover Following a Hit and Run Accident in Williamsport?

Depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of property damage, you may be worried about how you’ll pay for your losses. Despite the challenges of hit and run accidents, your auto policy can help you recoup some of the losses that the accident caused.

Economic Damages for Hit and Run Accidents

Claims for hit and run collisions in Williamsport and elsewhere can be complex, but getting the compensation you need for your injuries and losses is possible.

Economic damages you may be entitled to, or actual damages, include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Wrongful death

However, how much you can recover will ultimately depend on the type of auto insurance policy you have, so be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the hit and run.

Non-Economic Damages For Hit and Run Accidents

You may be entitled to non-economic damages if you suffer severe injuries and losses. These include:

However, these are very subjective and can be more challenging to recover, especially in a hit and run case.

Do I Need to Contact a Williamsport Car Accident Lawyer?

Williamsport car accident lawyer Katie Nealon speaking on the phone with a clientNot all personal injury claims require the assistance of a car accident lawyer, but in a hit and run case, there are only benefits to working with a law firm. A Williamsport car accident lawyer at Munley Law can guide you through the hit and run claim process by:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Reviewing and calculating your total damages
  • Negotiating with the insurance companies

If the other driver is caught, they can also help you bring a case against them for further compensation if your insurance policy does not provide enough compensation.

Don’t Know What To Do In a Hit and Run Accident? Call Munley Law.

If you or a loved one were an injured victim of a hit and run collision and are not sure what to do next, call Munley Law. Our attorneys will guide you through the claims process and work with your insurance company to see what type of policy you have.

With so many forms of collision coverage available, it can be overwhelming to know what you are entitled to. This is where we come in. We’ll talk to your insurance company to ensure you are not being sold short of the compensation you are entitled to, especially when you were not the guilty party.

For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the car accident lawyers of Munley Law today. We represent victims of hit and run collisions in Williamsport and throughout Pennsylvania.

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