Being the victim of a hit and run comes with so many different things to consider and worry about. For instance, if you didn’t get a good look at the person who struck your vehicle, you might be worried that the police won’t be able to find who did it. Or if your car was severely damaged, you’re likely wondering how much it’s going to cost to fix it and who covers it.
Mostly, though, you’ll probably be focused on the investigation and how long it will take the police to find the person who caused the wreck, and how long they’ll continue to contact you in order to find who did it. Let’s take a look at what you can expect as the victim of a hit and run so you can be fully prepared for what happens.
What To Expect as a Victim of a Hit and Run
Hit and run accidents not only cause injuries and damages, but they’re even more complicated than regular collisions because the driver at fault flees the scene. This means that you might not have firm evidence of who was at fault, and you could have trouble recovering the compensation that you deserve from the responsible party.
As a victim of a hit and run, it’s important to know what to expect. Whether you were in the car and suffered injuries from the collision, or the crash only damaged your property, you’ll want to find who was responsible for your wreck so that you can hold them accountable. There are many different scenarios of hit and runs, but the police have experience with these types of crashes. This means that they will work hard to find out what happened.
However, there’s not telling how long it takes them to find the person. It could take hours if there’s enough evidence, or it could take days, weeks, or even months depending on what information they have about the person who fled the scene.
When you report the accident to the police, you can expect them to keep in touch with you. They’ll likely keep you in the loop and contact you with updates to ensure that you have all the information you need about their investigation. There’s no firm timeline for how long the police will contact you after a hit and run, but they will contact you until your case is closed.
Other than your report with the police, you’ll likely need to contact your insurance company so you don’t have to cover the full cost of repairs for your vehicle. In Illinois, you’re required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, which could in part cover the damages to your vehicle. However, you could also opt to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) which could allow you more coverage, even if the driver isn’t found.
Processes Following a Hit and Run
The steps after suffering a hit and run are crucial. Here is what you should do immediately after being involved in a hit and run:
- Quickly assess yourself for injuries and ensure you’re safe
- Look at the car that hit you and get as much information as possible—make, model, color, license plate, and a description of the driver, if possible
- If you’re able to, take pictures before they drive away for more evidence
- Call 911 so the police and other emergency services can arrive on the scene to help you
- Gather any other evidence, like pictures and witness information
- Speak with the police and give them all your information
- Seek medical help if necessary
- Call your insurance company to see what your policy covers
- Hire a hit and run accident lawyer
You might think that hiring a lawyer after all of this is too much, but it’s not. It could be overwhelming to handle on your own. That’s why talking to a car accident lawyer will help you through every step of this investigation and ensure that you are properly represented.
Hit and Run Laws in Illinois
When you’ve been in a hit and run, it’s important to know the state laws that apply, since they are what the police and your lawyers will be using to determine what happened and who was at fault. You might be curious what laws and potential fines could apply to the driver who caused your hit and run, which is why you should know the basics of hit and run laws in Illinois.
Here are some of the requirements and fines that fall on a person who has collided with a vehicle or object, caused property damage or injury, and fled the scene:
- After causing at least $1,000 worth of damage and fleeing the scene, the driver could lose their license.
- Anyone who causes a wreck that causes property damage or injury is required to report it to the police. If they don’t, they could be fined $2,500 or face a year of jail time.
- After causing an accident, if the driver leaves the scene and doesn’t return for more than half an hour, they could be fined $25,000 or face up to three years in jail. Depending on how much damage was caused, their license could be suspended or revoked.
- After causing a hit and run where a death occurred, which is a felony, if the driver doesn’t assist a severely injured person, they could face up to three years in jail. If they flee the scene when someone has died, they could face up to five years in prison.
Now that you know what the at fault driver could be dealing with in repercussions, you likely have a better understanding of why hit and runs are taken so seriously, and why the police will stay in contact with you while they’re investigating. Not only do they want as much information as possible so they can catch the reckless driver, but they also want to know how your damages and injuries develop so they can fully charge them once they are caught.
Prince Law Firm Will Defend Your Rights
Being in a hit and run accident can be traumatizing—you’re hurt, your vehicle is damaged, and you just want to find the person who did it. At Prince Law Firm, we understand that you want justice now. Although this can take some time, our car accident lawyers will keep you updated every step of the way and ensure your rights are protected.
We want to get you the justice you deserve. Reach out to our office today so we can discuss your legal options and get started on your claim right away.