Hit-and-run is a serious crime in Arizona. It describes a driver causing a motor vehicle accident but failing to stay behind to fulfill his or her driver duties, as the law requires. Since Arizona is a fault insurance state, victims of hit-and-run accidents will not have anyone to hold legally responsible for their damages. If you get into a hit-and-run accident in Glendale, the steps you take next could determine whether you receive financial recovery. Do everything you can to protect your rights as a hit-and-run crash victim.
Record Your Experience
The limited information available in a hit-and-run accident makes it imperative to collect and keep track of as much as you can. Every detail could be significant and potentially help an investigator solve your case. After a hit-and-run accident, record what happened from your perspective. Include where you were, where you were going, what time the accident happened and what types of injuries or property damages you suffered.
If you saw the vehicle or driver that struck you, write down a description while the event is still clear in your mind. Recording details such as the make, model, color or license plate numbers of the driver that hit you could help the police find the culprit. If anyone witnessed the hit-and-run, stay at the scene and ask them questions about what they saw. If you are not in a position to do so, the police can talk to witnesses for you while you receive medical care.
Call 911 to report your hit-and-run accident to the police, no matter how minor or major your damages. Calling the police can create an official record of what happened. The police could investigate to try to find the driver that hit you and took off. The police may also be able to arrest the hit-and-run driver for breaking Arizona’s laws. When the police arrive, give them your version of events. Again, do so in as much detail as possible. Finally, the police can help you gather additional evidence from the scene of the collision, such as official photographs, video surveillance footage and eyewitness statements.
Get Medical Treatment
Do everything you can to optimize the odds of your insurance company covering your damages. This includes seeking immediate medical care for any personal injuries. If you have noticeable injuries after a hit-and-run, request paramedics when you call 911. Seeing a doctor right away could enhance your recovery. It could also show the insurance company you did everything you could to treat your injuries. If you do not notice symptoms or pain right away, see a doctor for a checkup anyway. You could have injuries with delayed symptoms, such as whiplash or a brain injury.
Call Your Insurance Provider
If the police catch the perpetrator, file your insurance claim with the hit-and-run driver’s insurance company. Otherwise, bring your insurance claim with your provider. Call your insurance company as soon as possible after the collision to report what happened. Describe your injuries and follow the agent’s directions for filing a claim. Your agent will let you know if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. This type of insurance is not mandatory in Arizona, so you may not have it unless you specifically purchased additional coverage.
If you do have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, your provider will cover the expenses related to your hit-and-run accident up to your policy limit. Expenses could include property damage repairs, medical bills, rental car expenses and lost wages. If you find out you do not have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, you may be able to seek financial compensation through the civil justice system instead. You could have grounds for a case against the at-fault driver if the police catch the perpetrator, or a third party such as another driver, vehicle manufacturer or the City of Glendale. A car accident lawyer in Peoria could review your case and list your options for financial recovery.